There are about 66 species in the subfamily, most of them called "plover" or "dotterel". The closely related lapwing subfamily, Vanellinae, comprises another 20-odd species.
Plovers are found throughout the world, with the exception of the Sahara and the polar regions, and are characterised by relatively short bills. They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipes do. They feed mainly on insects, worms or other invertebrates, depending on habitat, which are obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups.
The plover group of birds has a distraction display subcategorized as false brooding. Examples include: pretending to change position or to sit on an imaginary nest site.
A group of plovers may be referred to as a stand, wing, or congregation. A group of dotterels may be referred to as a trip.