The beach of As Furnas is one of those chosen by these birds to travel along the shore of the ocean and to build their nests directly on the ground of the dunes. It is also known as “Píllara das Dunas” and you can easily identify it because they walk quickly through the sand when the water is removed from the waves to look for small insects and crustaceans from which they feed.

The black-haired plover presents a distribution that in the Iberian Peninsula covers the entire Mediterranean coast, the Atlantic coast of Andalusia and some points of the Galician coast, as well as in various locations in the interior of Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha; besides reproducing also in the Balearic and Canary Islands.

In Europe, a population of 23,000-41,000 couples is estimated. The Spanish population has established itself in 5,000-6,000 couples, with a minimum figure of about 2,500. There is no detailed information on its national evolution in recent years, although it is known that in numerous peninsular breeding sites its number has decreased.


Píllara das Dunas - Zonas de Cría en Galicia

Píllara das Dunas – Breeding Areas in Galicia


In the Canary Islands it shows a negative trend, especially in Tenerife and Gran Canaria. In Mallorca it remains stable, but in Ibiza the trend is also negative.

Threats that put them in danger

  • Mass tourism and some forms of leisure on the coasts are a major nuisance for these birds, especially during the breeding season.
  • The uncontrolled construction of our coastline has also represented the destruction of many of its habitats.
  • Another threat linked to human activity is the mechanical cleaning of the beaches, which removes the remains of seaweed where the invertebrates from which the plover feeds and the erroneous elimination of vegetation near the coast. These birds make their nests at ground level, between small stubble, low thickets and sparse or remnants of marine vegetation dragged by the tide, where it is easy that, by removing the vegetation, the nests are destroyed by a mistaken idea of ​​“cleaning ”Of beaches.
  • Another problem for plovers that nest near human populations is the presence of domestic cats in semi-freedom or loose dogs, which bind to their natural predators.
  • The abandonment of traditional salt flats has aggravated the reproductive failure of some colonies of patinegros and other limestone plovers, well adapted to ancestral salt farms.
  • In the interior, in addition, it suffers from the usual problems of our wetlands, especially the scarcity of water due to the overexploitation of aquifers or the appropriation of these areas for new agricultural uses.


On Easter holidays you will share the sand of some beaches with the little black-and-white plover that works to make their nests. Eye where you put the towel.

Nido Píllara das Dunas

Píllara das Dunas nest.


It is a breeding season for the black-haired plover, Ave of the Year 2019, a unique species that these days strives to find the best areas to locate its nest on the ground to get its chickens forward. The inconvenience caused by the users of the beaches on these dates are among its main threats. Knowing their breeding grounds and becoming aware of these problems could prevent the loss of nests.


Source: SEO Birdlife