" + $site_name + " logo
We love to photograph and make high quality documentary style videos of the birds and butterflies of Oklahoma.
If you have similar interests, questions, or comments, feel free to contact us at OKBirdsButterflies@gmail.com.
Login

 
 
The Killdeer - A Most Unusual Bird

Article and photos by Charly Mann

Killdeer bird
This is a Killdeer looking for food along a dirt road I often walk down

The Killdeer is one of the most unusual and fun to observe birds in the world. First because it is a shorebird and looks very much like other shorebirds you would see at the ocean, but it usually lives and breeds far from water in pastures and meadows. Second even though it flies very well, it spends most of its time on the ground. Most of the time I see these guys they are sprinting around in some grass along a dirt road running a couple of feet then stopping to look around and then rushing off again. Because of this I call them the “Walking Bird”, even though they do resort to flight when they are frightened. They are also an especially handsome bird. They are brown on top and white underneath with two black bands across their breast. (Baby Killdeer have only one band). They look much larger than they are because of their long legs and tail. Killdeer also have a red rear end which is only visible when they are airborne.

Killdeer running
This Killdeer is running around in some grass not far from Guthrie, Oklahoma

Killdeer build their nest on the ground often in a small depression of gravel along a country road. Their eggs are hard to distinguish from small pebbles. As soon as a baby Killdeer is born it starts out walking following its parents around for food. Baby Killdeer are unable to fly.

Killdeer walking in grass
This Killdeer is enjoying an afternoon stroll in a grasslands area not far from Ponca City

The Killdeer has a long bill which it uses to probe the earth for insect larvae and worms.

Killdeer talking
This Killdeer was talking to me as I stood within fifteen feet of it for more than twenty minutes while it ran and walked around looking for food

Adult Killdeer have a unique scheme for protecting their young chicks and eggs. When they detect a predator they pretend to be injured and hold out one wing as if it has been broken and then begin to limp away at a rapid rate drawing away the potential intruder. When it has gotten the predator far enough away it miraculously recovers and takes flight.

 
 

Comments:

Tammy Bell      2:48 PM Sun 2/28/2016

We have quite a few Killdeer around our place. There is a nest in the gravel now close to the house and a smart raven has spotted it. The pair has worked hard and I have helped them out in chasing him off, but I am afraid it is just a matter of time before he comes back without me seeing him. They are no match for him.
 

Mina      4:45 PM Mon 12/28/2015

We have a lot of deer, I see their tracks and<a href="http://gfwgxbe.com"> olsacionalcy</a> them, but they stay outside of our pastures because the dogs have been told the deer are to be kept out since they'll otherwise eat our fruit trees and gardens. The dogs are quite good about being selective on which wildlife to ignore and which to keep back at the boundaries. I wouldn't want to farm or homestead without their help. According to their they feel similarly. Together we make a great team.
 

net      10:43 AM Sat 6/13/2015

We have a family of killdeer in our garden. They hatched this week. We thought something had eaten them, till we saw them in our front yard.





 

DANNA EVERHART      9:36 PM Fri 5/15/2015

We had a killdeer in or near our gravel drive way, the egg eventually hatched, so we put little rocks around them to mark the spot so we couldn't run over them, but the babies kept getting out, finally the momma bird led the little ones down the road and crossed over into a field, we never saw them again, they were so neat to watch, and yes, the parents would pretend to be hurt to try and keep me away. Funny !
 

Michelle      5:07 PM Tue 6/18/2013

We're staying long-term at an RV park in Durant OK. We have a nest of Killdeer eggs under a bush right outside our door. Both the mama & papa are there. Sometimes when the mama is on the nest, the papa sits in the bush calling out to warn us humans not to get too close. Can't wait until they hatch! Is it unusual for them to nest so close to humans?
 

Elsa Laplante      10:26 PM Sun 4/21/2013

I have a nest on Killdeer eggs on my property. I know were the nest is & to be kind, I will not let my horses in that field , until the chicks are hatched.. I respect there loyalty to protect there young

Elsa Laplante.
 

GAVIN      3:43 AM Wed 7/25/2012

I HAVE A KILLDEER. HIS NAME IS BILL AND HE LOVES ME SO MUCH. HE IS SO COOL BUT HE DOSE FART AND IT SMELLS GOOD TO BUT SUM TIMES IT SMELLS BAD ATLESET YOU DONT HAVE TO SMELL IT AND THE BIRD GOSE FART FART FART PEYOU EEWWWWW IT POOPED NOT AGAIN HE POOPED AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN WAT THE HECK WAT IS RONG WITH YOU.
 

Jeanne      1:42 PM Mon 4/2/2012

I have a nest of four eggs in my gravel driveway in rome ohio
 

Stan Strong      3:01 PM Wed 6/1/2011

We have these birds nesting in my gravel driveway in Piedmont, OK. Each year they come back and our girls and visitors have fun watching them do their act. The young birds are adorable too.
 

dee smith      10:38 AM Wed 7/28/2010

Very interesting article on the Killdeer. I had always noticed these injured birds when we were farming. they are abundant in the Oklahoma Panhandle.Didn't realize they were faking it. lol Thank you
 


Uplifting Visions
a guide to happiness, good health, and success
Charly Mann in a Hawaiian shirt
by Charly Mann

From the age of seven I have been enchanted with the idea of living happily ever after, and have made it a life quest to find that answer. I have spoken to hundreds of people – usually older and wiser than me, and read countless books and articles on the subject. In my website Uplifting Visions I share what I consider the best insights I have learned about achieving happiness in life.



Oklahoma Birds Listed by Color

Red
House Finch - male (carpodacus mexicanus)
Purple Finch - male (carpodacus purpureus)
Northern Cardinal - male (cardinalis cardinalis)
Painted Bunting - male (passerina ciris)
Summer Tanager - male (piranga rubra)

Orange
Baltimore Oriole - male (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - male (icterus spurius)

Yellow
Yellow Warbler (dendroica petechia )
Baltimore Oriole - female (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - female (icterus spurius)
Summer Tanager - female (piranga rubra)
Yellow Goldfinch - male (carduelis tristis)
Western Kingbird (tyrannus verticalis)
Eastern Meadowlark (sturnella magna)

Green
Malard - male (anas platyrhynchos)
Dark-eyed Junco - female (junco hyemalis)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (archilochus colubris)
Painted Bunting - female (passerina ciris)
Green Heron (butorides virescens)

Blue
Barn Swallow (hirundo rustica)
Belted Kingfisher (ceryle alcyon)
Blue Jay (cyanocitta cristata)
Blue Grosbeak - male (guiraca caerulea)
Eastern Bluebird (sailia sialis)
Indigo Bunting - male (passerina cyanea)
Purple Martin - male (progne subis)

Grey
Great Blue Heron (ardea herodias)
Carolina Chickadee (poecile carolinensis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (sitta canadensis)
Grey Catbird (dumetella carolinensis)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (regulus calendula)
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher (tyrannus forficatus)
White-breasted Nuthatch (sitta carolinensis)
Tufted Titmouse (baelophus bicolor)
American Robin (turdus migratorius)
Northern Mockingbird (mimus polyglottos)
Mississippi Kite (ictinia mississippiensis)
Dickcissel (spiza americana)

Black
American Crow (corvus brachyrhynchos)
Brown-headed Cowbird - male (molothrus ater)
European Starling (sturnus vulgaris)
Common Grackle (quiscalus quiscula)
Red-winged Blackbird - male (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Towhee (pipilo maculatus)
Turkey Vulture (cathartes aura)

Black & White
American Bald Eagle (haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Black-billed Magpie (pica hudsonia)
Downey Woodpecker (picoides pubescens)
Red-Bellied Woodpecker (melanerpes carolinus)
Purple Martin - female (progne subis)
Eastern Kingbird (tyrannus tyrannus)
Dark-eyed Junco - male (junco hyemalis)
Loggerhead Shrike (lanius ludovicianus)

Brown
American Kestrel (falco sparverius)
Blue Grosbeak - female (guiraca caerulea)
Brown-headed Cowbird - female (molothrus ater)
Brown Thrasher (toxostoma rufum)
Common Nighthawk (chordeiles minor)
Carolina Wren (thryothorus ludovicianus)
Cedar Waxwing (bombycilla cedrorum)
Greater Roadrunner (geococcyx californianus)
Killdeer (charadrius vociferus)
Northern Bobwhite (colinus virginianus)
Red-tailed Hawk (buteo jamaicensis)
Cliff Swallow (petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
Horned Lark (eremophila alpestris)
House Finch - female (carpodacus mexicanus)
Northern Flicker (colaptes auratus)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (coccyzus americanus)
Mourning Dove (zenaida macroura)
Malard - female (anas platyrhynchos)
Purple Finch - female (carpodacus purpureus)
House Sparrow (passer domesticus)
Indigo Bunting - female (passerina cyanea)
Red-winged Blackbird - female (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Sandpiper (actitis macularia)
Upland Sandpiper (bartramia longicauda)
Northern Cardinal - female (cardinalis cardinalis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Yellow Goldfinch - female (carduelis tristis)
Canada Goose (branta canadensis)

Various
Wild Birds of Northeast OK

All rights reserved on Oklahoma Birds and Butterflies photography and content

Contact us