Crab Plover Dromadidae

Class: Aves

Order: Charadriiformes

Family: Dromadidae

One species: Crab plover (Dromas ardeola)



Crab plovers range in size from 13 to 16 inches (33 to 41 centimeters) in height and 8 to 11.2 ounces (230 to 325 grams) in weight. They are mostly white in color, but have a black patch on the back and some black on the wings. The wings of crab plovers are long and pointed, and the wingspan, or the distance from wingtip to wingtip when the wings are open, ranges from 29 to 30.7 inches (74 to 78 centimeters). The tail is short and gray and the legs are long and blue-gray in color. Crab plovers have webbed feet and a strong first toe, which is used for digging nest burrows. Crab plovers have bills that are designed for eating crabs. These are large, heavy, black in color, and shaped liked daggers. Male and female crab plovers are generally similar in size and appearance, but males have larger, heavier bills. Young crab plovers differ slightly in coloration from adults, with gray on top of the neck, behind the neck, and on the wings.


Crab plovers are found in coastal habitats along the Indian Ocean. Populations are found in portions of Africa, Madagascar, the Middle East, and India.


Crab plovers occupy desert and semi-desert habitats, generally within 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) of the ocean. They require sand dunes for nesting.

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