Pacific Golden Plover

Pacific Golden Plover

Pacific Golden-plover, Asiatic Golden plover, Eastern Golden plover, Least Golden plover, Lesser Golden plover

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Pluvialis fulva
Population size
190-250 thou
Life Span
15 yrs
TOP SPEED
80.5 km/h
WEIGHT
102-108 g
LENGTH
23-26 cm
WINGSPAN
44 cm

The Pacific golden plover is a medium-sized wading bird that breeds in the Arctic tundra. During this time the adult is spotted gold and black on the crown, and back on the wings. Its face and neck are black with a white border, and it has a black breast and a dark rump. The legs are black. In winter, the black is lost and the plover then has a yellowish face and breast, and white underparts.

Distribution

Pacific golden plovers breed from northernmost Eurosiberia into western Alaska. They are migratory and winter in South Asia and Australasia. A few winter in California and Hawaii, USA. These birds can be found in tundra, shrubland, fields, prairies, mangroves, flooded pastures, saltmarshes, mudflats, and beaches.

Pacific Golden Plover habitat map

Habits and Lifestyle

Pacific golden plovers are diurnal and forage singly or in flocks in short vegetation, along beaches or on tidal flats. They hunt by sight walking rapidly with regular stops to scan the area. When the prey is spotted plovers peck mud and dig up their food. To communicate with each other, Pacific golden plovers use a mellow 'quee-lee-lee' and their song consists of a series of slow whistles with short pauses.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Pacific golden plovers are carnivores (insectivores). They feed mainly on various insects but also crustaceans and some berries.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
INCUBATION PERIOD
23-25 days
BABY NAME
chick
BABY CARRYING
4 eggs

Pacific golden plovers are probably serially monogamous and usually form pair bonds that last only during one breeding season. With the start of the mating season, the male performs aerial displays in order to attract the female. Breeding pairs nest on the ground in a dry open area. Their nest is a shallow depression usually lined with leaves, grass, or moss. The female lays 4 eggs and both parents incubate them during 23-25 days. The chicks are precocial and are able to leave the nest shortly after hatching. Both parents lead their young to a feeding area where they feed themselves but tended by adults. Young Pacific golden plovers fledge at the age of 26 to 28 days.

Population

Population threats

Pacific golden plovers are not globally threatened; however, despite that the population of this species is decreasing due to habitat loss, hunting for food in some areas, and climate change.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red List, the global population size of the Pacific Golden plover is around 190,000-250,000 individuals. National population sizes have been estimated at 1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and 1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Japan and 10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and 1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia. Overall currently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on The IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The genus name of this species comes from Latin and means 'relating to rain' from 'pluvia' (rain). It was believed that golden plovers flocked when rain was imminent. The species name 'fulva' refers to the tawny color of the bird.
  • In Hawaii, the Pacific golden plover is known as the kōlea, and in New Zealand, it is known to Māori as kuriri.
  • During their migration, Pacific golden plovers make the phenomenal 4800 km non-stop flight between Alaska and Hawaii in 3-4 days.
  • When sensing danger, parent golden plovers have an interesting distracting technique; they pretend to be injured and this way lead the predator away from the nest with young.

References

1. Pacific Golden Plover on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_golden_plover
2. Pacific Golden Plover on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22693735/155529922

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