US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



Published by Higgins, K.F. and M.R. Brashier, eds. Proceedings, The Missouri River and its tributaries piping plover and least tern symposium/workshop. South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, 1993.


The threatened piping plover and the endangered interior least tern breed on the Platte River in Nebraska from the city of North Platte to the confluence with the Missouri River at Plattsmouth (Faanes 1983, Sidle et a/1988).

Major riverine nesting areas are the reaches from Lexington to Grand Island and from Columbus to Plattsmouth (Fig 1). Nesting habitat is sparsely vegetated or unvegetated islands, sandbars, or shorelines of the river.

An additional and important habitat is on the banks and islands within sand pits made by sand and gravel operations along the river.

In the initial nest of the year, piping plovers usually lay four eggs, and least terns lay two or three and sometimes four eggs. Piping plovers will commonly renest if the initial nesting attempt is unsuccessful; least terns will renest infrequently if the initial attempt is unproducti ve. When renesting, piping plovers usually lay three to four eggs, and least terns lay two eggs. Least terns feed primarily on small fish (Anderson and Hubert 1988). Piping plovers feed on small aquatic invertebrates and terrestrial insects.