Tayside and Central Scotland

Rare little ringed plover chicks born at Loch Leven reserve

Little ringed plover chicks
Image caption The chicks are the first ever little ringed plovers to be born at Loch Leven

A rare wading bird has put in a new appearance at a nature reserve near Kinross.

Little ringed plovers are uncommon in Scotland and have never been recorded as successful breeders at the RSPB's Loch Leven site.

But now four new chicks have hatched in a nest at the reserve.

Reserve manager Neil Mitchell said: "This is an exciting new species that reflects the diversity of habitats at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve."

There are about 1,000 pairs of little ringed plovers across the UK, but Scotland has relatively few.

'Bundles of fluff'

The adult little ringed plovers are between the size of an adult robin and blackbird, about 15cm to 17cm.

They have a distinctive black and white head pattern, similar to ringed plover. Their beaks are black and they have pale legs. Close views of the bird reveal a distinctive yellow eye-ring.

Ken Brown, a volunteer at RSPB Loch Leven, said: "I'm really excited to see these birds and their young at the reserve.

"We've had a pair of little ringed plovers around for a month but we were lucky to spot the chicks during a lapwing nest count that occurs here at the reserve.

"We saw four little chicks - just tiny bundles of fluff. They dart about very quickly and do their best to keep up with their parents who are prone to confusing them by changing direction."

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