Little Ringed Plovers have a breeding range extending from North Africa to southern Fenno-Scandia and across much of Eurasia to Japan, Philippines and New Guinea. They mostly winter in sub-Saharan Africa. They were first recorded breeding in Britain in Hertfordshire in 1938, since when they have gradually extended their range throughout England and Wales and into lowland Scotland. Bird Atlas 2007-2011 recorded them in 20% of 10km squares in Great Britain, having expanded their distribution range by 42% since the 1988-91 Atlas.

In Britain Little Ringed Plovers nest mostly in artificial habitats such as gravel pits and reservoirs, where they lay their eggs in scrapes on bare or sparsely vegetated ground near the water. Although such habitats exist at several sites in Wiltshire it was not until 1959 that they were first recorded in the county, at the Cotswold Water Park (CWP) and at Coate Water. In subsequent years they have also appeared at a few other sites.

Breeding attempts were suspected on several occasions but not confirmed until 1970 when two pairs nested at the CWP and three young were reared. They bred there again in 1974 and annually since. Birds of Wiltshire recorded confirmed or probable breeding in five tetrads at the CWP and also at the Swindon Sewage Treatment Works. Since 2000 there have been multiple pairs at the CWP in every year though in most years only a minority have succeeded in raising young. The most successful year was 2005 when 14 pairs all succeeded in raising a brood. WTA2 recorded confirmed or probable breeding in eleven tetrads in and around the CWP and presence, but no breeding, at six other sites around the county.


The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.