Small, plump, pale plover; the color of dry sand. In breeding plumage look for thin broken black collar across chest, black stripe across forehead, orange legs, and orange bill with black tip. Nonbreeding and immature birds have black bills and sandy-colored breastbands. White wingstripe visible in flight. Notably paler than other small plovers, with the exception of Snowy, from which Piping is distinguished by thicker bill and orange legs. Sometimes seen near other shorebirds, but rarely ventures far from the high, dry side of the beach. Often quite vocal; gives a sad-sounding two-parted whistle that drops in pitch: "pwee-doo." A species of great conservation concern, due to coastal development and disturbance at nesting sites on beaches.