Plover (jiriya) small to medium-sized waders with stout bodies, short pigeonlike bills and long pointed wings. Previously these birds were grouped under order Charadriiformes, now they belong to order Ciconiiformes. In Bangladesh there are 10 species of plovers, of which one is resident (of the family Burhinidae) and nine are migratory (of the family Glareolidae).

Most are camouflaged against the open ground in which they live. Many are gregarious and frequent beaches, and sand and mud flats. Following the backwash of waves, they search small invertebrates that form their diet. They feed in a “run and snatch” fashion on visible prey. They rarely enter water. The plovers nest on open ground and dig shallow hollows lined with pebbles or plant debris.

The common plovers of Bangladesh are: Great Thick-knee, Esacus recurvirostris: Greyish sandy above, white below. Stout black-and-yellow upturned bill. In flight the arched profile of the back, and round white wing-patch diagnostic. Sexes alike.

These are found along Sundarbans and large rivers; Jiriya (Kentish Plover, Charadrius alexandrinus): very similar to Little Ringed Plover. In non-breeding plumage (ie in winter), the blackish legs, narrow eye stripe, the white forehead continued as supercilium and a small dark patch on upper breast separates it from the Little Ringed Plover. In the breeding plumage, the male has contrasting head marking and a bright rufous crown. In flight a narrow white wing-bar is prominent. They are widely distributed; Chhoto Jiriya (Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius): thick head, bare yellow legs. Sandy brown above, white below. White forehead and black forecrown. A complete black band round neck separates the white hindneck collar from back. Absence of white wing-bar distinguishes it in flight from the very similar Kentish plover. Distribution wide; Common Ringed Plover, Charadrius hiaticula: looks like Little Ringed Plover. A double collar on hindneck (the upper white, the lower black), black pectoral band, and bold black-and-white head markings. Sexes alike. Found in Cox's Bazar in Mudflat and Sandflat; Greater Sand Plover, Charadrius leschenaultii: In winter forehead and supercilium fulvous-white, with a broad brown band from lores under eye to ear-coverts. Rest of upperparts ashy brown. Below white, with a pale brown band across breast generally broken in the middle.

In summer crown, hindneck and sides of neck rufous; no pale supercilia; forehead black with a white spot on each side; a black patch below eye. Below white, with a broad rufous band. Sexes alike in winter. They occur along large rivers; Lesser Sand Plover, Charadrius mongolus: thick round head, bare greenish grey legs. Above sandy grey brown, below white in winter. Forehead fulvous, ear-coverts brownish conspicuous as a dark patch behind eyes on the white head. White collar. In summer forehead and sides of head black; crown pale chestnut, separated from the white throat by black half collar. Distribution wide; Long-billed Ringed Plover, Charadrius placidus and Dromas ardeola: distinguished from other black and white waders in flight by the overall white plumage, black back, black eye patch, and the heavy tern-like black bill. Sexes alike.

They are found along the Coast, Charland, Sundarbans and Teknaf; Batan (Pacific Golden Plover, Pluvialis dominicus): In winter brown above, spangled with white and gold; whitish below mottled on breast with brown, grey, and yellow. In summer plumage underparts are black. Sexes similar and distribution wide. Grey Plover, Pluvialis squatarola: In winter plumage forehaead and lores are white speckled with black. Sides of head, neck, rump, upper tail-coverts and tail white, streaked or barred with brown. Below, foreneck, breast and flanks streaked and spotted with brown. Otherwise white. Sexes alike. Summer breeding plumage is black above, profusely barred and spangled with silvery grey or pearly white. Below chin to middle of abdomen black. They occur Northeast, Northwest and Southern parts of Bangladesh along coasts. [Sharif Khan]