Mountain Plover


  • Status
    Near Threatened
  • Population
  • Scientific Name
    Charadrius montanus
  • Height
    5-9 inches
  • Weight
    3.6 ounces
  • Length
    8-10 inches
  • Habitats

Mountain plovers are one of only 12 grassland birds endemic to the western Great Plains. They nest across the western Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states, from the Canadian border to northern Mexico, and winter in California, southern Arizona, Texas and Mexico. Mountain plovers only nest in areas with sparse vegetation or bare ground, such as prairie dog towns. Loss of these areas because of crop planting or the removal of prairie dogs, is the biggest threat to the mountain plover's population.

Animals of the Northern Great Plains

Since 2000, WWF has worked in this part of the country to conserve and restore the Northern Great Plains' natural heritage and native wildlife. So which animals call this beautiful region home, and why do they matter?

Bison on plains


  • Population 15,000-20,000
  • Extinction Risk Near Threatened
    1. EX

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

The loss of nesting habitat is the biggest threat to mountain plovers.  Prairie dog colony extermination, lack of natural fire regimes, and the conversion of native prairie for agriculture and energy development all contribute to habitat loss and change.

What WWF Is Doing

WWF works with researchers and landowners to understand the needs of mountain plovers and to assess how land management and climate change impact the bird.

Related Species