Large plover with distinctive wispy crest and broad, rounded wings. Bronze-green upper parts, black chest, white belly; reddish-buff under tail. Buff, black, and white face, with less buff in summer.
They breed in the spring. The male will make the nest by making several scrapes on open wet ground and line them with grass. The female will then choose one, and she lays 3-5 buff to pale brown eggs, with are blotched with dark brown to black. The eggs are mainly incubated by the female for 21-28 days.
Outside of the breeding season, the birds gather in large loose flocks on coastal marshes and farmland. They often eat in plowed fields. They run forward and tilt over to grab insects, grubs and earthworms. They will spend a lot of time just standing still in groups of hundreds or thousands of birds.
When their young hatch and start feeding in the open, the adults defend them by diving on predators with a shrill cry or by distracting them with broken wing displays.
This bird belongs to a family of small to medium wading birds known as phalacrocoracidae.