Interesting Things – The Egyptian “Crocodile Bird” Plover

Egyptian Plover (Pluvianus aegyptius) ©©patries71

Egyptian Plover (Pluvianus aegyptius) ©©patries71

 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant…” (Genesis 32:10a)

SmileyCentral.comHow would you like to be a dental hygienist for a crocodile? That’s how the crocodile bird makes his living.

Of course, you do need to know that the crocodile bird doesn’t show up to do his work with any drills or needles. He and the crocodile are on good terms with each other. After eating, the crocodile climbs the river bank and relaxes with his mouth open. The little crocodile bird enters the crocodile’s mouth to clean up the scraps that are left. While the crocodile bird makes most of his living as sort of a crocodile dental hygienist, he also helps keep the crocodile free of pesky insects that lodge in his skin.

The crocodile also receives one other service from the crocodile bird. Whenever the bird senses approaching danger, he gives his sharp warning call and flies off. The crocodile, now warned, can quickly roll over into the water where virtually no animal can get the best of him.

This is but one of many unlikely cooperative arrangements that we find in the plant and animal kingdoms. Every one of these relationships speaks for a Creator and against the idea that either these creatures, or their cooperation, evolved naturally. Evolutionists have written whole books on the subject. Yet they don’t seem satisfied that they have explained how these relationships could develop through evolution. We agree that they have no explanation. Nor are they likely to find one as long as they deny a Creator who cares for His creation.

Father, because of the innocent suffering and death of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I know that Your love for me is certain and sure. I thank You for this. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

From Creation Moments ©2011 (With Permission) – The Crocodile Bird

Lee’s Addition:

Egyptian Plover (Pluvianus aegyptius) ©WikiC

Egyptian Plover (Pluvianus aegyptius) ©WikiC

The “Crocodile Bird” is actually the “Egyptian PloverPluvianus aegyptius, is a wader, the only member of the genus Pluvianus. Formerly placed in the pratincole and courser family, Glareolidae, it is now regarded as the sole member of its own monotypic family”, Pluvianidae – Egyptian Plover. This Plover is in the Charadriiformes – Shorebirds & Allies  Order that has 19 families including other Plovers, Painted Snipes, Jacanas, Oystercatchers, Sanderpiper, Snipes and related birds.

It is also sometimes referred to as the Crocodile Bird because it is famous for its symbiotic relationship with crocodiles (National Geographic 1986). According to a story dating to Herodotus, the crocodiles lie on the shore with their mouths open, and the plovers fly into the crocodiles’ mouths so as to feed on bits of decaying meat that are lodged between the crocodiles’ teeth. This is questioned by some. One from Harvard talks about Symbiosis as a fact.

The Egyptian Plover is a localised resident in tropical sub-Saharan Africa. It breeds on sandbars in large rivers. Its two or three eggs are not incubated, but are buried in warm sand, temperature control being achieved by the adult sitting on the eggs with a water-soaked belly to cool them. If the adult leaves the nest, it smooths sand over the eggs, though if it is frightened the job may be hasty.

The chicks are precocial, and can run as soon as they are hatched and feed themselves shortly afterwards. The adults cool the chicks in the same way as with the eggs. The chicks may drink water from the adult’s belly feathers. The adults bury the chicks in the sand temporarily if danger threatens.

Egyptian Plover (Pluvianus aegyptius) ©WikiC

Egyptian Plover (Pluvianus aegyptius) ©WikiC

Egyptian Plover is a striking and unmistakable species. The 19-21 cm long adult has a black crown, back, eye-mask and breast band. The rest of the head is white. The remaining upperpart plumage is blue-grey, and the underparts are orange. The longish legs are blue-grey.

In flight, it is even more spectacular, with the black crown and back contrasting with the grey of the upperparts and wings. The flight feathers are brilliant white crossed by a black bar. From below, the flying bird is entirely white, apart from the orange belly and black wing bar. After landing, members of a pair greet each other by raising their wings in an elaborate ceremony that shows off the black and white markings. The sexes are similar, but juveniles are duller and the black marking are intermixed with brown.

Just for fun, watch these two videos about the “crocodile bird.”


Resources from Creation Moments, Wikipedia and YouTube.


4 thoughts on “Interesting Things – The Egyptian “Crocodile Bird” Plover

  1. Pingback: Andy Jenkins – Sweet Bunch (album review)

  2. Could you please post a video of the plover cleaning the crocodile’s teeth? I cannot find any. Photoshopped pictures, yes. I am a Christian teacher, and am teaching my students that all this crocodile bird nonsense is fake until I find out otherwise. Thank you.


    • Encyclopedia Britannica says “Crocodile bird, (Pluvianus aegyptius), shorebird belonging to the family Glareolidae (order Charadriiformes). The crocodile bird is a plover-like courser that derives its name from its frequent association with the Nile crocodile, from whose hide it picks parasites for food. By their cries, the birds also serve to warn crocodiles of approaching danger. They are also called black-backed coursers.”

      That makes more sense that it is the hide and not the teeth that are picked for parasites.


  3. crocodiles and egyptian plovers are very helpful like bees and flowers by the flowers and bees getting nector from the flower putting it on the bee so the bee can help the flowers grow and help the earth.


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