The colors of bands listed here are those used on Great Lakes Piping Plovers. Plovers with orange flags or orange bands without a flag are from the Great Lakes. If you see colors that do not match the options below do not try to make them fit. Other populations of Piping Plovers are marked using different flag and band colors. Some have flags with engraved numbers and letters. Report what you see and if necessary your observations will be forwarded to the research team that banded the plover you reported. There's a list below with contact information for some of the other groups tracking and protecting Piping Plovers.


Great Lakes Piping Plovers

Color-band Information

Piping Plover color-band key 2018 single
Color dot bands 2019.jpg

People banding Piping Plovers in other populations use various colors of flags and different patterns of band colors. Here is a list of most of the currently-used banding schemes and email addresses to use for sending in observations. Don't worry. If you send an observation to a research group other than the one tracking that bird, it will be forwarded to the researchers who banded the plover you saw. You will hear back shortly about the history of "your" bird.  It is only important that you email any one or more of the research groups about the banded plover that you saw. 

SBP2c, O,b_O_b X,b, Bdot, b353,2019-08-0

Orange flag or orange band with a USGS metal band on the tibia opposite the orange flag or the solid orange band. On plovers with an orange band (no flag) watch for and report three-digit numbers on color bands other than orange and colored dots on the orange band. 

Great Lakes US or Canada

Black, gray or white coded flag on tibia (upper leg) and metal band on other tibia:

Eastern Canada

Green flag not coded, or green flag coded with ​metal, orange, or green opposite the flag:

United States breeding or wintering grounds, depending on the combination:

Green flag, coded with a blue band opposite the flag:

Atlantic United States:

Yellow flag coded or not coded:

Great Plains United States

Pink coded flag on tibia (upper leg) and metal band on other tibia:


Dark Blue coded flag:

Great Plains United States

Three characters beginning with a letter -

Three Characters beginning with a number -

Single or stacked color bands only on the tibia:

Atlantic United States

Red flag:

Gulf Coast Texas

Thank you to Sidney Maddock for permission to use his chart of Piping Plover banding contacts

Have you seen a Piping Plover on your beach?

Report summertime sightings.

Report non-breeding sightings.