University of Tasmania
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Some aspects of the biology of the spurwinged plover - Vanellus miles novaehollandiae (Stephens, 1819)

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posted on 2023-05-28, 00:31 authored by Temple-Smith, PDM
Research was made into aspects of the biology of the spurwinged plover - Vanellus miles novaehollandiae, a member of the family Charadriidae. The distribution, status and habits of the spurwinged plover and the related banded plover, Vanellus tricolor, were studied in Tasmania. The methods used in this study were a road survey of selected areas of Tasmania and a set of survey questionnaires sent to 250 Tasmanian schools. The survey demonstrated marked contrast between the two species with regard to their general ecological requirements. An analysis of their morphological characteristics and their function was made in spurwinged plovers with special reference to wing spurs and wattles and their use in behaviour. Field studies in behaviour in spurwinged plovers were made in the breading and non-breading seasons. Observations and descriptions were made of the behavioural sequences and postures of spurwinged plovers and the social structure of a flock on the campus of the University of Tasmania was briefly studied. Indications of a flock social hierarchy were apparent. Stomach analyses of 28 plovers shot on cultivated land and tidal flats were compared. Difference in stomch contents occured and it was found that birds on tidal flats fed on small marine molluscs and polychaete worms. Breeding biology studies were made in relation to; territories, nest construction, laying, incubation, hatching and chick development. The study area was Kingston Beach Golf Course. A preliminary sonagraph analysis was carried out on some commol calls of the spurwinged plover.


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