Tibetan Sand Plover

Scientific Name: Charadrius atrifrons

Malay Name: Rapang-Sisir Kecil

Chinese Name: 青藏沙鸻

Range: Found from Central Asia to eastern Russia and northern China, wintering to Africa, Middle East, Indian subcontinent, southern China, Japan, Southeast Asia and Australia

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: pamirensis, atrifrons, schaeferi.

Local Subspecies: atrifrons, schaeferi

Size: 19-21 cm

Identification: Non-breeding adult can be distinguished from Kentish Plover by broad lateral breast-patches and lack of white nuchal collar. Best separated from very similar looking Greater Sand Plover by smaller size, shorter and blunter bill, tibia obviously shorter than tarsus and dark grey to greenish-grey legs and feet. Male in breeding plumage has black forehead, lores and ear-coverts, white throat and deep orange-rufous neck-sides and breast-band. Female in breeding plumage has less obvious black and orange-rufous plumage of the male.

Similar looking species: Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Oriental Plover, White-faced Plover, Javan Plover

Habitat: Mudflats, sandy shores and coastal breakwaters.

Behaviour/Ecology: Usually congregates in flocks of several hundred at low tide feeding grounds or at high tide roosts.

Local Status: Common migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Seletar Dam, Sungei Buloh, Mandai Mudflat, Pulau Ubin, Marina East Drive and Punggol Barat.

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Tibetan Sand Plover Charadrius atrifrons
Estimated average number of individuals by week based on eBird data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023
Peak week Sep 03-Sep 09
Early date 06 Jul 1996
Late date 25 Jun 1988
As with many shorebirds, numbers are greatest in the fall months, likely during their southward passage. Birds in breeding plumage have a sharp-looking facial pattern – they can often be found in August.


BirdLife International. (2016). Charadrius mongolus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22693855A93427510.en. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

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