The Egyptian Plover, Pluvianus aegyptius, is a wader in the pratincole and courser family, Glareolidae. It is the only member of the genus Pluvianus (Vieillot, 1816). It is also sometimes referred to as Crocodile Bird because it is famous for its symbiotic relationship with crocodiles.
Egyptian Plover is a localised resident in tropical sub-Saharan Africa. It breeds on sandbars in large rivers. Its two or three eggs are not incubated, but are buried in warm sand, temperature control being achieved by the adult sitting on the eggs with a water-soaked belly to cool them. The chicks are precocial, and can run as soon as they are hatched, but the adults will bury them in the sand temporarily if danger threatens.
Egyptian Plover is a striking and unmistakable species. The 19-21 cm long adult has a black crown, back, eye-mask and breast band. The rest of the head is white. The remaining upperpart plumage is blue-grey, and the underparts are orange. The longish legs are blue-grey.
In flight, it is even more spectacular, with the black crown and back contrasting with the grey of the upperparts and wings. The flight feathers are brilliant white crossed by a black bar. From below, the flying bird is entirely white, apart from the orange belly and black wing bar. The sexes are similar, but juveniles are duller and the black marking are intermixed with brown.
This usually very tame bird is found in pairs or small groups near water. It feeds by pecking for insects. The call is a high-pitched krrr-krrr-krrr.
Shorebirds by Hayman, Marchant and Prater ISBN 0-7099-2034-2
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46