[order] Charadriiformes | [family] Charadriidae | [latin] Pluvialis apricaria | [UK] Golden-Plover | [FR] Pluvier doré | [DE] Goldregenpfeifer | [ES] Chorlito Dorado Europeo | [IT] Piviere dorato | [NL] Goudplevier

Goudplevier determination

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Largest and bulkiest of golden plovers, with underwing white, as opposed to brownish grey, also differs in shape and plumage color. Wings equal in length to tail or slightly longer. Female less extensively black, with some brown markings below. Non-breeding adult lacks black on face and underparts. upperparts less distinctly spotted with yellow, can turn greyish. Juvenile as non-breeding adult. In race altifrons male more uniformly black below. Female altifrons has yellowish cheeks with black marks.
Although generally common, its range has contracted somewhat in the past due to habitat destruction. For example, in the 19th century it disappeared as a breeding bird in Poland and only occurs there as a migrant nowadays. Its breeding population in Central Europe apparently was a relict of the last ice age.

Nominate race breeds on highland heaths and peatlands. Race altifrons breeds in humid moss, moss and lichen and hummock tundra, shrub tundra, open bogs in forest tundra and alpine tundra. On migration and in winter, occurs on pastures and open agricultural land,such as stubble and fallow fields, and regularly feeds on intertidal flats.

Pluvialis apricaria is a widespread breeder in northern Europe, which constitutes >50% of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is large (>460,000 pairs), and was broadly stable between 1970-1990. Although the trend of the stronghold population in Iceland during 1990-2000 was unknown, the small declines in Sweden and the United Kingdom were at least partly compensated for by increases in Finland, and the species probably declined only slightly overall.
This plover inhabits tundra, wet moorland, fens and alpine meadows of northern Europe and western Asia, from Iceland to central Siberia. The total European population is estimated at 440000-785000 breeding pairs. The population of the European Union has undergone a strong decrease, and the species has disappeared from the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and most of Germany following destruction of its habitats. The British population, currently of about 25000 pairs, has also decreased by about 20% following afforestation of the open meadows, less intensive management of its habitats for Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) and intensification of the sheep breeding

Mainly invertebrate, especially beetles and earthworms, sometimes plant material. All kinds of insects and their larvae, spiders, millipedes and snails. Pecks from surface or probes. Sometimes feeds at night. Moves in flocks up to 1000's. During breeding, flocks are smaller

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 1,600,000-2,000,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

April-May in Britain, May-July further North. Monogamous, with lifelong pair-bond. Solitary, with nests sometimes only few hundred metres apart. Territorial, adults feed mostly outside territory. Breeds in flat and openly vegetated areas. Nest is shallow scrape, lined with moss and plant material. 4 eggs, incubation 28-31 days. Chick has mottled black and bright yellow upperparts, whitish underparts. Breeds first at 2 years old.

Partially migratory in Britain and Ireland; wholly migratory elsewhere. Populations mix in winter, when combined range comprises western Europe (Britain, Ireland, and Netherlands to Iberia), Mediterranean basin, and thence east and south-east (in small numbers) from Turkey to southern Caspian. Much the most important areas are in western maritime regions (Britain, Ireland, France, Iberia, Maghreb); in mild winters, majority stay in Europe, a few even in western Germany and elsewhere in middle Europe. Main southward movement through temperate Europe October-December. Some move well down Atlantic coast of Morocco and even reach Afrotropics¾small parties occasional in Gambia, December-February. Breeding areas reoccupied May to early June