Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Charadriiformes Family: Charadriidae
BTO Codes: GP, GOLPL EURING No: 4850
Number in Britain: 49 thousand Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 28 cm Wingspan: 72 cm Weight: M/F: 220 g    
Scientific name from: L.: pluvia=to rain and L.: apricus=sun-kissed
World Distribution: BREEDS: N Europe to c Siberia, WINTERS: w Europe to Mediterranean & Persian Gulf
Habitat: Tundra, wet moor, on migration pasture & estuaries
Diet: Invertebrates, esp beetles, earthworms, feeds extensively at night
TitBit: A question about the flight speed of Golden Plover (now known to be up to 60mph) during a shooting party in Wexford, Ireland prompted Sir Hugh Beaver (then chairman of the brewery) to found the Guinness Book of Records in 1955.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: No regional trends available
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore    BBS Maps
British Population Size:
    Summer: 49 thousand Pairs in
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times [Fossil evidence from Ipswichian (last) interglacial, c. 125,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Important Non-breeding Population
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 GREEN     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    Common in: Bog, Grass/Heath, Marsh
Relative Frequency in Each Habitat:
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 436 to 645 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(II,III), WBD(I, II*&III*), Bern(III), Bonn(II), AEWA
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Results from the Winter Farmland Bird Survey

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 52 x 35 mm Egg Weight: 33.0 g (of which 5 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 14   (more would be welcome!)
Clutch Size: 4 eggs 3.94 ± 0.28 (2 - 4) N = 527
Incubation: 28- 31 days   by the: Female (occ. Male)
Fledging: 25 - 33days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: 24 Apr (3 Apr - 6 Jun)
Number of Broods: 1
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.730       
Juvenile Survival: No data
Age at First Breeding: 1 year Typical Lifespan: 4 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 12 years 0 months 29 days (set in 1978)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: D
Wing Length Adult: 193.5 ± 5.4 Range 186 - 202 mm, N =213
Juvenile: 189.8 ± 5.9 181 - 199 mm, N =98
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
Weight Adult: 208.5 ± 18.44 Range 180.0 - 236.0 g , N =224
Juvenile: 209.2 ± 20.90 172.0 - 248.0 g , N =93
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

European Golden Plover
Gaelic: Welsh: Cwtiad Aur
Danish: Hjejle Dutch: Goudplevier
Finnish: Kapustarinta French: Pluvier doré
German: Goldregenpfeifer Hungarian: Aranylile
Icelandic: Heiðlóa Irish: Feadóg Bhuí
Italian: Piviere dorato Norwegian: Heilo
Polish: Siewka zlota Portuguese: Tarambola-dourada
Spanish: Chorlito dorado Swedish: Ljungpipare
Local Names: Whistling / Hill Plover
Collective Noun:Stand (or Wing in flight)

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Byrkjedal, I. & Thompson, D. 1998 Tundra plovers Poyser, London [598.612 BYR]
   Nethersole-Thompson, D. & M. 1986 Waders, their breeding, haunts and watchers Poyser, London [598.6 NET]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides