Crab Plover | Dromas ardeola | Birds & Birding Southern Africa

The Crab Plover is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Dromadidae bird family group which includes birds such as Albatrosses, it is closely related to Oystercatchers.

Robert's Birding Information On The Crab Plover

The description for the Crab Plover (Latin name Dromas ardeola) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Dromas ardeola can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 296 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 419. You will find a picture of the Crab Plover on page 385.

The Crab Plover is known as a "lifer" in the birding circles of South Africa.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Crab Plover between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Crab Plover has a height of 36 cms and weighs around 325 gms. The head is coloured white while the bill is coloured black. The Dromas ardeola has a white coloured throat, blue, grey legs and a black, white coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Crab Plover Colouration

Head is white

Eyes are brown

Bill is black

Legs are blue, grey

Throat is white

Back is black, white

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Juvenile  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

This bird has long legs i.e. legs the length of which are out of proportion to the bird's body size. This can be a useful identification guide (e.g. with the Lapwings).

Crab Plover Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird is a nocturnal feeder and is able to forage in the dark because of the enhanced night vision. It also forages at this time because that's when the prey comes out in the open.

This bird is a well known scavenger and rarely kills its own prey.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Crab Plover Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The bird builds its nest in a hole in the ground.

You can see the Crab Plover bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...