Pacific Golden Plover  |  

Pluvialis fulva

The Pacific Golden Plover is a medium-sized (length 23–26 cm; weight: 120–175 g) plover with long legs and an upright stance. Sexes are generally inseparable, but juveniles are separable from adults in the field. In breeding plumage, adults have bold golden spots on the crown and hindneck; a white forehead, which extends as a broad supercilium that curves behind the ear coverts to the sides of the neck; and the rest of the face is black. The upperparts are blackish, boldly spotted with gold, with the tail dark brown with golden-buff bars. The underparts are black, with a broad white stripe (which continues from the sides of the neck) extending down along the sides of the breast to the flanks, where they are spotted black. The underwings are uniform brownish-grey. The bill is black, the eyes are dark brown, and the legs and feet are greyish black. In non-breeding plumage, the crown is dark brown with golden streaks; the nape and hindneck are similar, though slightly paler; the forehead, lores, supercilium, chin, throat and sides of the head are all golden or creamy buff. The upperparts are dark brown, heavily marked with bright golden scaly-shaped spots, while the secondary coverts are spotted white, which contrasts with the golden spots of the mantle and scapulars. The foreneck and breast are golden-buff, with grey-brown streaks, and the belly, flanks and undertail are all white with a buff tinge, and the flanks have fine grey-brown streaks. The underwings appear uniform brownish-grey. Juvenile birds are similar to non-breeding birds, but the patterning is neater, bolder and more even, with more golden-buff tones to the face and underparts, distinct streaking on the foreneck and barring or marbling on the breast and flanks. Pacific Golden Plovers often form flocks, usually of 20 to 50 birds, but single birds are sometimes seen. They roost in areas with other species of shorebirds present, however, usually form a seperate communal group.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Species Profile and Threats Database, Pluvialis fulva

    Global warming and associated changes in sea level are likely to have a long term impact on the breeding; staging and non breeding grounds of migratory waders (Harding et al. 2007 Melville 1997).