Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Pacific golden plover

Pluvialis fulva

(Photo from Birding in Taiwan)

Common name:

Order Charadriiformes
Family Charadriidae

These birds breed in the Arctic, both in northern and north-eastern Russia and in western Alaska. They migrate south to winter along the coasts of southern Asia, from India to southern China and Indonesia, and along the coasts of Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific islands.

They are 21-26 cm long and weigh 120-175 g.

Pacific golden plovers breed in Arctic and sub-Arctic tundra, usually on slopes of low hills, knolls or foothills vegetated with lichen and moss, or in bare, stony areas. During winter they are mostly found in mudflats and sandflats or on the margins of sheltered areas such as estuaries and lagoons. They also feed on rocky shores, saltmarshes, mangroves, pastures, cropland, islands and reefs.

These birds mostly eat molluscs, worms, crustaceans, insects and spiders, but during the breeding season they also eat, berries, seeds and leaves.

Pacific golden plovers are monogamous and breed in June-July. The nest is a shallow scrape lined with lichens and moss, where the female lays 4 eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 26-27 days and the precocial chicks leave the nest within 24 h of hatching. The chicks are able to feed by themselves but the parents brood them and defend them from predators.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population of 190.000-250.000 individuals. The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends.

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