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Pacific Golden Plover

Pluvialis fulva / Kolea
Pacific golden plover

The breeding adult is spotted gold and black on the crown, back and 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.

Phenomenal long-distance travelers, after breeding in the Arctic, these plovers migrate to spend winter almost half way around the world (5,000-13,000km away one-way). Some winter on tiny islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, a feat requiring precise navigation. Alaskan breeders winter in Hawai‘i, Fiji, South Pacific Islands, all the way to New Zealand.

Pacific golden plovers breed in Siberian tundra and in West Alaska in June-July. Males usually return to the same nest site, even to the same spot. They form monogamous pairs. Relying on their excellent camouflage to avoid predators, they simply nest on the ground. They prefer well-vegetated well-drained tundra, often on hillsides or ridges. The nest is just a shallow scrape lined with lichens. Four eggs are laid, incubated by both parents (26 days). Soon after hatching, the chicks and parents move off to moist shrubby or grassy tundra. Young plovers are able to run soon after hatching. When threatened, the parent distracts the predator from the nest or chicks by pretending to have a broken wing.  

Facts About Pacific Golden Plover

Diet
Invertebrates, berries, leaves, and seeds. 

Life Span
15 years 

Size
Length: 23–26 cm (9-10 in); wingspan: 44 cm (17 in) 

Page Photo Credits — © Hob Osterlund
Last Updated: Dec 04, 2013
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