Crab plovers are specialized feeders, that is, their diet includes only a few items. Crab plovers eat crabs almost exclusively. They hunt their prey by running after them in mudflats or shallow water and then stabbing them with their sharp, powerful bills. Small crabs are generally swallowed whole, while larger crabs are torn to pieces and then eaten. Both adult and young crab plovers eat crabs. Adults give young chicks bits of prey, and older chicks entire prey items. Other foods that crab plovers eat occasionally include other crustaceans, small fish, marine worms, and other invertebrates.

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