Pluvialis apricaria | European Golden Plover | Feadóg bhuí
This species is Red-listed according to Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland 2020-2026 and is of high conservation value as a result.
According to the last IUCN Red List assessment in 2016, the Golden Plover is a species of ‘Least Concern’ on a global scale. Additionally, an increasing global population trend was noted.
The Golden Plover is a medium-sized plover with a conspicuous summer plumage consisting of black and gold flecks along the body.
The underparts are black (more prominent on males) with the black strip extending up the chest and throat and stopping just under the eye.
Winter adults have no black underparts and look a uniform light brown colour.
The wings are narrow and end in a fine point.
Could be confused with the larger Grey Plover.
The Golden Plover stands at 26-29 cm in length with a wingspan of 67-76 cm and a weight range of 160-280 grams.
The Golden Plover is omnivorous but will primarily feed on invertebrates such as earthworms and beetles. If available, plant material such as fruits, grasses and seeds will also be consumed.
Golden Plover breed in the blanket bogs on the west and North West.
In winter they occur in a variety of coastal and inland habitats, and can sometimes be seen in very large flocks.
The female lays a clutch of four eggs, each weighing approximately 33 grams, from early-April to early-June. These eggs will be incubated for a period of 28-31 days.
The young will fledge after 25-33 days.
A typical wild Golden Plover has a life expectancy of around four years with breeding occurring after the first year.
The Golden Plover visits Ireland from France and Iberia during the summer months. Additionally, a small number of individuals are thought to stay in Ireland all year.
Breeding populations are restricted to the north-western reaches of the country. Winter migrants can be found across most of the country in contrast to the restricted breeding range.
Records submitted to Data Centre in 2022
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BirdWatch Ireland: https://birdwatchireland.ie/birds/golden-plover/
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/golden-plover/
British Trust for Ornithology: https://app.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob4850.htm
IUCN Red List: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22693727/86551440