Twin Cities Ecological Services Field Office

Midwest Region


Twin Cities Field Office

4101 American Boulevard East
Bloomington, MN 55425
Phone: 952-252-0092
Fax: 952-646-2873
TTY: 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay)




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Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)


Piping plover

Photo by USFWS; Joel Trick

The piping plover is a small shorebird that nests in the Great Plains states, on the shores of Lakes Michigan and Superior, and along the Atlantic coast. Each population is listed separately under the Endangered Species Act.


Minnesota was home to piping plovers from both the Great Plains population and from the Great Lakes population. Unfortunately, nesting pairs from the Great Lakes population no longer nest in Minnesota on the shoreline of Lake Superior. A single population of piping plovers still exists in Lake of the Woods County (part of the Great Plains population), concentrated on Morris Point, Garden Island, Pine and Curry Island, and the Rocky Point Wildlife Management Area. However, the number of breeding pairs in this population is at a critically low level, with just 0-2 pairs in recent years.


Great Lakes Breeding Population


Atlantic Coast Breeding Population


Northern Great Plains Breeding Population


USFWS Piping Plover Fact sheet


Species Profile (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's National Endangered Species Website)


Minnesota DNR Piping Plover Profile



Links to sites with Piping Plover Photos


Piping Plover photos © Bill Schmoker


Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center




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Last updated: February 11, 2016