American Golden-Plover – Profile | Fly | Eggs | Migration | Nest

American Golden-Plover

American Golden-Plovers have darkish brown upperparts, spangled with gold to pale yellow or whitish. A white stripe extends from the brow, over the eyes, to the wings.

American Golden-Plover profile

Breeding males are strong black from chin to under-tail coverts. Females are duller in shade. Non-breeding adults and juveniles have white throats, gray-brown breasts, and white bellies.

The breasts and sides could also be striped with brown or noticed in juveniles. American Golden-Plovers will be distinguished from Black-bellied Plovers by their smaller size, darkish rump and wings, and grey below the wing. Distinction from the Pacific Golden-Plover is hard.

A big shorebird of pastures, open ground, and mudflats, the American Golden-Plover makes one of the many longest migratory journeys of any shorebird. It breeds on the high Arctic tundra of Alaska and Canada and winters within the grasslands of central and southern South America.

American Golden-Plover Distribution

The breeding habitat of American golden plover is the Arctic tundra from northern Canada and Alaska. They nest on the ground in a dry open space.

They are migratory and winter in southern South America. They comply with an elliptical migration path; northbound birds move by Central America about January–April, and stage in great numbers in locations like Illinois before their remaining push north.

In fall, they take a more easterly route, flying principally over the western Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea to the wintering grounds in Patagonia. The bird has one of many longest identified migratory routes of over 40,000 km (25,000 mi).

Of this, 3,900 km (2,400 mi) is over the open ocean the place it can’t cease to feed or drink. It does this from body fats shops that it shares upon previous to the flight. It is a regular vagrant to western Europe.

Comparability of dates and migratory patterns results in the conclusion that Eskimo curlews and American golden plovers have been the probable shorebirds to have attracted the eye of Christopher Columbus to the close by Americas in early October 1492, after 65 days at sea out of sight of land.


The American golden plover (Pluvialis dominica), or American golden-plover is a medium-sized plover. The genus name is Latin and means regarding rain, from pluvia, “rain”.

It was believed that golden plovers flocked when rain was imminent. The species name dominica refers to Santo Domingo, now Hispaniola, within the West Indies.

A trim, elegant plover. Swift and sleek in flight, in all probability one of many quickest fliers amongst shorebirds, and with good motive: it migrates each year from Arctic Alaska and Canada to southern South America.

Flocks of northbound migrants, of their placing spring plumage, are seen principally within the heartland of our continent, on the Great Plains and the Mississippi Valley; there they typically forage in open fields and prairies, removed from the water.

American Golden-Plover Description

American golden plover chickening out, exhibiting its dusky back and axillaries

The breeding adult American golden plover has a black face, neck, breast, and stomach, with a white crown and nape that extends to the facet of the breast. The back is mottled black and white with pale, gold spots.

The breeding feminine is analogous, however with much less black. When in winter plumage, each sex has grey-brown upperparts, pale gray-brown underparts, and a whitish eyebrow. The head is small, together with the bill.

It is just like two different golden plovers, European and Pacific. The American golden plover is smaller, slimmer, and comparatively longer-legged than the European golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria) which additionally has white axillary (armpit) feathers.

It is more just like Pacific golden plover (Pluvialis fulva) with which it was as soon as thought-about conspecific below the name “lesser golden plover”.

The Pacific golden plover is slimmer than the American species, has a shorter main projection, and longer legs, and is normally yellower on the back.


Prairies, mudflats, shores; tundra (summertime). During migration, normally discovered on short-grass prairies, flooded pastures, plowed fields; much less typically on mudflats, seashores. Breeds on Arctic tundra.

In western Alaska, the place it overlaps with Pacific Golden-Plover, the American tends to nest at higher elevations, on more barren tundra slopes.

American Golden-Plover Size

  • Length: in (24-28 cm)
  • Weight: 4.3-6.eight oz (122-194 g)
  • Wingspan: 25.6-26.Four in (65-67 cm)


Mostly bugs. On breeding grounds, apparently feeds totally on bugs, together with flies, beetles, and others, additionally some snails and seeds.

In migration in open fields, eats an extensive number of bugs, together with grasshoppers, caterpillars, larvae of beetles.

On shores, additionally feeds on small crustaceans and mollusks. In late summertime, could eat many berries.

These birds forage for meals on tundra, fields, seashores, and tidal flats, normally by sight. They eat bugs and crustaceans.

Feeding Behavior

Typically they stroll or run just a few steps after which pause, then transfer ahead once more, pecking on the ground at any time when they spot one thing edible.

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American Golden-Plover  Eggs

4, typically 3. Pale buff to cinnamon boldly blotched with black and brown, effectively camouflaged when seen in opposition to assorted tundra vegetation. Incubation is by each parent, about 26-27 days.

Male reportedly incubates by day, feminine at night. Young: Downy younger go away nest shortly after hatching. Both parents have a tendency younger, however younger discover all their very own meals. Age at first flight about 22-24 days.


Downy younger go away nest shortly after hatching. Both parents have a tendency younger, however younger discover all their very own meals. Age at first flight about 22-24 days.


Males carry out flight display over breeding territory by flying high, with exaggerated sluggish, deep wingbeats, whereas repeatedly giving a brief kt-dlink call.

In courtship, the male walks as much as the feminine in a crouching posture with tail raised, neck stretched ahead.

The nest site is on the ground on a really open, dry tundra. Nest (in all probability constructed by a male) is a shallow melancholy within the tundra, lined with lichens, moss, grass, leaves.


This bird makes use of scrape nests, lining them with lichens, grass, and leaves. At its breeding grounds, it is extremely territorial, displaying aggressively to neighbors. Some American plovers are additionally territorial of their wintering grounds.

The American golden plover lays a clutch of 4 white to buff eggs which are closely blotched with each black and brown spot. The eggs typically measure around 48 by 33 millimeters (1.9 by 1.3 in).

These eggs are incubated for an interval of 26 to 27 days, with the male incubating throughout the day and the feminine throughout the night. The chicks then hatch precocial, leaving the nest for hours and feeding themselves inside a day.

American Golden-Plover  Facts

The American Golden-Plover has a long, round migration route. In the autumn it flies offshore from the East Coast of North America nonstop to South America. On the return within the spring, it passes primarily by the center of North America to succeed in its Arctic breeding grounds.

Adult American Golden-Plovers go away from their Arctic breeding grounds in early summertime, however, juveniles normally linger till late summertime or fall. Some adults arrive on the wintering grounds in southern South America before the final juveniles have left the Arctic.

The oldest American Golden-Plover was a minimum of 13 years old when it was recaptured and rereleased throughout a banding operation in Alaska.


Huge numbers have been shot within the late 19th century, and the inhabitants apparently have by no means recovered to historic ranges. May be restricted now by the lack of habitat on the South American wintering range.

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