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American Golden-Plover

Pluvialis dominica ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: CHARADRIIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

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

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
9.4–11 in
24–28 cm
Wingspan
22.4 in
57 cm
Weight
4.3–6.8 oz
122–194 g
Other Names
  • American Golden Plover, Golden Plover (in part), Lesser Golden-Plover (in part)
  • Pluvier doré d'Amérique, Pluvier fauve (French)
  • Chorlo dorado, Chorlo pampa, Chorlo axiliclaro (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The American Golden-Plover has a long, circular migration route. In the fall it flies offshore from the East Coast of North America nonstop to South America. On the return in the spring it passes primarily through the middle of North America to reach its Arctic breeding grounds.
  • Adult American Golden-Plovers leave their Arctic breeding grounds in early summer, but juveniles usually linger until late summer or fall. Some adults arrive on the wintering grounds in southern South America before the last juveniles have left the Arctic.

Habitat


Grassland

Breeds on Arctic tundra, especially in low vegetation on rocky slopes. Winters in grazed grasslands. On migration found in prairie, pastures, tilled farmland, golf courses, airports, mudflats, shorelines, and beaches.

Food


Insects

Invertebrates, berries, leaves, and seeds.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
4 eggs
Egg Description
White to buff, heavily spotted and splotched with dark brown and black.
Condition at Hatching
Covered with down and able to walk soon after hatching. Feed themselves within one day.
Nest Description

Scrape in ground, lined with lichens, dry grass, or leaves.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Probing

Feeds in short vegetation or open areas. Moves by stop-run-stop, scanning and capturing prey at stops. Captures prey by single peck or series of pecks.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Market hunting in 19th and early 20th centuries caused major decline in American Golden-Plover numbers. One estimate of a single day's kill near New Orleans was 48,000. Population rebounded after hunting ended.

Credits

  • Johnson, O. W., and P. G. Connors. 1996. American Golden-Plover (Pluvialis dominica), Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva). In The Birds of North America, No. 201-202 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Range Map Help

American Golden-Plover Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

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All About Birds blog, First-Ever World Shorebirds Day Highlights Need for Conservation, September 5, 2014.