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SCIENTIFIC NAME: Charadrius montanus
POPULATION: Fewer than 20,000
HABITAT: Breeds on short-grass prairie; winters on plains, fields, and deserts
The name “Mountain” Plover is misleading, since this is a species of shortgrass prairies. It’s also nicknamed “Prairie Ghost” for its habit of freezing in place when threatened, blending perfectly into its grassy surroundings. Unlike other plovers such as the Snowy or Wilson’s, Mountain Plovers are not typically associated with water.
The North American Breeding Bird Survey shows declines of over 80 percent in Mountain Plover populations over the past few decades, and this species is included on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. This steep decline is mainly due to habitat loss.