The Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus) is and endemic shorebird species which breeds
in grassland and shrubsteppe habitats of the western Great Plains and Colorado Plateau.
Occurrences of this species in Wyoming are constrained to breeding and migration seasons. First
described in 1837 by J. K. Townsend, from the tablelands of the Rocky Mountains in the region of
the Sweetwater River, Wyoming (AOU 1983), this species is locally common and has been
detected in every county of Wyoming. The Mountain Plover was proposed for listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1999. The proposal for listing was withdrawn in 2003, as perceived threats to the species and available habitat were deemed not as serious as perceived at the time of the petition, and do not pose an imminent threat to the survival of this is species in all or a significant portion of its range. Recent research has identified five Mountain Plover breeding areas of noteworthy concentrations in the Laramie,
Shirley, Washakie, Great Divide, and Big Horn Basins. The species occurs regularly elsewhere at
lower densities, yet breeding hot spots may remain to be found. Wyoming is host to roughly 25
percent of the North American breeding population of 8,000 to 10,000 birds. The Wyoming
Partners In Flight Wyoming Bird Conservation Plan (2003) lists the Mountain Plover as a species
of highest conservation priority, a species in immediate need of conservation attention. Habitat
loss, fragmentation, and alteration of historic grazing and disturbance regimes have resulted in a
significant, long-term decline of this species. Conservation of this species in Wyoming must focus
on protection of suitable habitat, improved species inventory and monitoring, and vigilant ongoing
assessment of impacts from landscape changes associated with natural resource development.