Small, pale plover with broken collar. In breeding plumage, black ear patch is distinctive. Thin black bill separates from other small plovers at all times of year. Also note relatively long, grayish legs. Typically uncommon. Found on sandy beaches on the coast and inland; usually singly or in small loose flocks. Larger numbers gather at key sites after breeding in summer and fall. Quickly darts around searching for invertebrates in the sand.