The little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius), a small, now extremely rare wading bird, uses the open, sparsely vegetated waterway banks for both foraging and breeding. It presses a small hollow in the ground with its chest and lays its eggs in it. Its colouring allows it to blend in with its surroundings. Unfortunately, many of its eggs are crushed as its well camouflaged nesting places are extremely difficult to spot. This little bird, whose running action is reminiscent of a wind-up toy, is most prevalent in North Rhine Westphalia along the Rhine between Duisburg and the Dutch border.
The open banks used by the plovers as breeding grounds are visited by many different types of wading bird during migratory periods, as the birds can find a rich variety of food here. The common snipe (Gallinago gallinago), common greenshank (Tringa nebularia), spotted redshank (Tringa erythropus), wood and green sandpipers (Tringa glareola and T. ochropus) also appear in large groups, and even rarer species such as the grey and common ringed plover (Pluvialis squatarola and Charadrius hiaticula), little stint and dunlin (Calidris minuta and C. alpine), and even the red knot (Calidris canutus) and sanderling (Calidris alba) can be found gathering on the Rhine bend at Orsoyer Rheinbogen.
One of the most fascinating natural spectacles you can witness on the Lower Rhine is the wintering of wild Arctic geese, which gather in the region from November until February to feed, swim and drink. Several thousand animals are permanent inhabitants of the area, equipping themselves for the next breeding season. The most numerous of these species is the greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons), while other types of geese such as the bean goose (Anser fabialis) and barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis) can also be observed here. You can find more interesting information about these fascinating animals on our website: www.wildgaense-niederrhein.de.