This small shorebird moves along the sand by foot rather than flight.
It has a distinct black cap behind a white forehead, a dark line though the eye, and an incomplete black breast band. Males have darker and more distinct breeding plumage than females; both sexes loose coloration during late summer. It is the only shorebird that regularly breeds on Oregon's beaches.
East of the Cascades, the Western Snowy plover is a summer resident breeding on alkaline flats and salt pans. On the Oregon coast, this species is found year-round between Heceta Head and Cape Blanco.