Malaysian Plover: The cryptic chicks
The Malaysian Plovers (Charadrius peronii) nest along the open shore just above the high water mark. The nest is just a scrape on the ground and there is no vegetation to offer any protection. So how does it avoid detection from potential predators? Camouflage is the answer!
The brown, grey, blank and white plumage blends perfectly with the surroundings. The nest is not lined with any insulating plant material as this would make it conspicuous. Similarly the eggs are perfectly camouflaged. There is a long incubation period of up to 30 days during which the parent birds need be vigilant against egg poachers. However, this long period ensures that the chicks hatch with their eyes opened, covered with downy feathers and capable of independent movement within a few hours of hatching.
Such chicks do not need to be constantly brooded in the nest as they are able to maintain their body temperature, though not completely. Thus they initially need to get warm under the parent’s wings. As seen above, the two days old chick is still learning how to walk properly, sometimes toppling over while in a hurry trying to get to the female parent.
Finally able to stand tall and proud.
The account on the nesting behaviour has already been posted.
Input and images by Philip Tang.