/kil"dear'/, n.
an American plover, Charadrius vociferus, having two black bands around the upper breast. Also called killdeer plover.
[1725-35, Amer.; imit.]

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Bird (Charadrius vociferus) that frequents grassy mudflats, pastures, and fields.

Its name is suggestive of its loud, insistent whistle. It is about 10 in. (25 cm) long and has a brown back, a white belly, and two black breast bands. Killdeers breed throughout North America and in northwestern South America. They migrate only to escape snow, returning before most songbirds. They eat beetles, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and other insects. To protect their young from predators, killdeers will feign injury and flutter awkwardly away from the nest, luring predators with the promise of an easy kill.

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      (Charadrius, sometimes Oxyechus, vociferus), American bird that frequents grassy mud flats, pastures, and fields. It belongs to the plover family of shorebirds (Charadriidae, order Charadriiformes). The killdeer's name is suggestive of its loud insistent whistle. The bird is about 25 centimetres (10 inches) long, with a brown back and a white belly, and it has two black breast bands (instead of one, as in other ringed plovers). In flight it shows a black and white wing pattern and a brown tail.

      Killdeers breed throughout North America and in northwestern South America (and a few regularly visit Iceland and western Europe). They migrate only to escape snow, returning in spring before most songbirds. Killdeers are the ecologic equivalent of the lapwings of Europe. They eat beetles, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and other insects.

      The nest is a scrape in the ground lined with pebbles. The male makes several such nests, and the female selects one of them. The eggs are four in number, grayish in colour, with black marks. The parents take turns incubating. Hatching takes place in 24 days. Both parents tend the chicks, which walk and feed themselves soon after hatching. Intruders are lured away from the nesting area by a “broken wing” distraction behaviour, in which a parent bird limps or flutters along the ground, appearing to be injured.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • killdeer — ☆ killdeer [kil′dē΄kil′dir΄ ] n. pl. killdeers or killdeer [echoic of its cry] a medium sized North American plover (Charadrius vociferus) with a high, piercing cry, that nests in open fields, on beaches, etc.: also killdee [kil′dē΄] …   English World dictionary

  • killdeer — (n.) also killdee, 1731, American English, species of North American ring plover, the name imitative of its cry …   Etymology dictionary

  • Killdeer — For other uses, see Killdeer (disambiguation). Killdeer Conservation status …   Wikipedia

  • Killdeer — Killdee Kill dee , Killdeer Kill deer , n. [So named from its notes.] (Zo[ o]l.) A small American plover ({Charadrius vociferus}, formerly {[AE]gialitis vocifera}) of inland waters and fields having a distinctive cry. The adult has two black… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • killdeer — noun (plural killdeers or killdeer) Etymology: imitative Date: 1731 an American plover (Charadrius vociferus) characterized by two black breast bands and a plaintive penetrating cry …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • killdeer — /ˈkɪldɪə/ (say kildear) noun (plural killdeer or killdeers) a common North American shore bird, Charadrius vociferus, noted for its sharp call. {imitative of the bird s call} …   Australian English dictionary

  • killdeer — balsingasis kirlikas statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Charadrius vociferus angl. killdeer vok. Keilschwanz Regenpfeifer, m rus. крикливый зуёк, m pranc. pluvier kildir, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – kirlikai …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • killdeer — noun /ˈkɪɫdɪə,ˈkɪɫdɪɹ/ A North American plover (Charadrius vociferus) with a distinctive cry and territorial behavior that includes feigning injury to distract interlopers from the nest. A kill deer, flying so low as to dip its wings, ever and… …   Wiktionary

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