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Breeding Birds: Killdeer : Killdeer

July 21, 1989|Clipboard researched by Susan Davis Greene and Rick VanderKnyff / Los Angeles Times and Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

(Charadrius vociferus) Description: Double breast bands are this bird's most distinctive feature. Rust colored back and white breast; bright reddish-orange rump visible in flight.

Habitat: Fields, meadows, pastures, mud flats, occasionally on coast.

Diet: Mostly insects.

Displays: Male courtship on ground and in air with loud calling and sham nest-scraping movements.

Nest: On open ground with extended view, often associated with human habitation; or on soft

soil withcamouflaging stones, gravel and pebbles. Nest can be lined or unlined.

Eggs: Buff, marked with blackish brown; about 1 1/2 inches long.

Natural history notes: A member of the plover family, the killdeer has a loud, piercing call, kill-dee , echoed in the bird's name. The adult will feign a broken wing or leg to lead intruders away from the nest.

Breeding bird atlas: To report bird breeding activity in your neighborhood, or to get information on the breeding bird atlas (now in its fifth and final year), call Sea and Sage Audubon Society members Sylvia Gallagher, (714) 962-8990, or Nancy Kenyon, (714) 786-3160.

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Note: Map is divided into 5-kilometer squares so that Audubon Society volunteers can more easily survey areas on a regular basis.

Sources: Sea and Sage Audubon Society; "The Birder's Handbook," Ehrlich, Dobkin and Wheye, Fireside Books (1988); "Field Guide to the Birds of North America," National Geographic Society (1987); "Birds of Southern California: Status and Distribution," Garrett and Dunn, Los Angeles Audubon Society (1981).

Indicates 5-kilometer-square areas where breeding activity has been confirmed.

Clipboard researched by Susan Davis Greene and Rick VanderKnyff / Los Angeles Times

Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

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