Killdeer are very small birds, so they obviously don’t kill deer as said in their name. So why are they called Killdeer? Well just like chickadees, they are named after the sound of their call. If you listen to their call, it sounds a little like; kill-deer kill-deer.

Killdeer photo by Alan D. Wilson

Killdeer photo by Alan D. Wilson

Identifying Them:

Killdeer are small 6-inch birds with long skinny legs. As said up above, killdeers’ unique call, sounds a bit like they are repeating their name over and over. Go to to hear their call.
Killdeer are part of the Charadriidae family which includes species like plovers and lapwings.


Killdeer are one of the most common types of plovers in America, but of course not as common as crows. You can find them living and nesting in agricultural fields or farm fields, but you can also find them at the shoreline in a beach or coastal area. Killdeer can be found all over North America, but they will only live year round in parts of the United States.


They are most likely to be spotted running around a field, or sitting in their nest with nestlings. Though you may see them in places distant from the shoreline or bodies of water, they are very good swimmers and even their chicks can swim through small streams.

Nesting and Nestlings:

They usually nest on the ground. Their nests aren’t very large and don’t have any walls or anything for protection or warmth. The male and female build their nest together, scraping the ground to make a little indentation in the ground.

Killdeer usually lay about 4-6 eggs which has lots of brownish markings all over. They are incubated for about a month (22-28 days) and when they hatch they are partly developed. They have a full coat of down and in just a short period of time they are able to walk around.


Killdeer eat mostly invertibrates like earthworms, crayfish, grasshoppers, and beetles. If they are living in agricultural fields, they will forage for seeds and other food.


About faithelise

I love learning about species of birds and want to be an Ornathologist. Writing about birds is my passion and I love every part of it!
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