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Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: _the_WP15.xls.
AOU. 1998. Check-list of North American birds. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Trend justification
The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations may be stable and others have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Behaviour This species is fully migratory but may only move short distances in some regions (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds from May to August (Hayman et al. 1986) in solitary pairs (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), adults leaving the breeding grounds before the juveniles between July and August (Hayman et al. 1986). The return migration in the spring peaks between April and early-May (Hayman et al. 1986). The species feeds in small flocks during the breeding season, but on passage and in winter feeding flocks of tens to thousands of individuals may occur (Hayman et al. 1986, Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding The species breeds on humid moss, lichen and hummock tundra (del Hoyo et al. 1996), low-lying marshes in moss tundra (Johnsgard 1981), shrub tundra, open bogs in forest, peatlands, alpine tundra (del Hoyo et al. 1996), highland bogs , moors (Johnsgard 1981), and swampy highland heaths with high abundances of sphagnum moss and heather (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996). It shows a preference for nesting on short vegetation less than 15 cm tall (Ratcliffe 1977). Non-breeding When on passage and in its winter quarters (del Hoyo et al. 1996) the species frequents freshwater wetlands (Urban et al. 1986), moist grasslands (Urban et al. 1986), pastures (del Hoyo et al. 1996), agricultural land (e.g. stubble, ploughed or fallow fields) (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) and highland steppe (Urban et al. 1986), also foraging on tidal shores, coastal rocky outcrops (Johnsgard 1981), intertidal flats (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and saltmarshes (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) in shallow bays and estuaries (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Its diet consists predominantly of insects (especially the adults, pupae and larvae of beetles (del Hoyo et al. 1996), larval Lepidoptera, locusts and grasshoppers (Urban et al. 1986)), as well as earthworms, spiders, millipedes, snails, polycheate worms (del Hoyo et al. 1996), crustaceans (Johnsgard 1981) and some plant material (e.g. berries, seeds and grass) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow scrape on bare ground in flat, sparse areas with short vegetation (less than 15 cm) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species is a solitary nester, although in optimal habitats neighbouring pairs may nest only a few hundred metres apart (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Management information Extensive grazing of wetland grasslands (e.g. c.0.5 cows per hectare) was found to attract a higher abundance of the species in Hungary (Baldi et al. 2005), and in the UK the species shows a preference for nesting on heathlands and moors managed by rotational burning (a management strategy used to encourage grouse) as this keeps the vegetation short and prevents grasses from being displaced by heathers (Ratcliffe 1977, Johnsgard 1981).

The species has suffered minor range contractions due to the cultivation and afforestation of heathlands (Ratcliffe 1977, del Hoyo et al. 1996), and is susceptible to very cold winter temperatures and severe weather conditions (Ratcliffe 1977). Utilisation The species is frequently taken by hunters on its wintering grounds (e.g. France) (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Baldi, A.; Batary, B.; Erdos, S. 2005. Effects of grazing intensity on bird assemblages and populations of Hungarian grasslands. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 108: 251-263.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Forchhammer, M. C.; Post, E.; Stenseth, N. C. 1998. Breeding phenology and climate. Nature 391: 29-30.

Hayman, P.; Marchant, J.; Prater, A. J. 1986. Shorebirds. Croom Helm, London.

Johnsgard, P. A. 1981. The plovers, sandpipers and snipes of the world. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, U.S.A. and London.

Pearce-Higgins, J. W.; Yalden, D. W.; Whittingham, M. J. 2005. Warmer springs advance the breeding phenology of Golden Plovers Pluvialis apricaria and their prey (Tipulidae). Oecologia 143: 470-476.

Ratcliffe, D. A. 1977. Observations on the breeding of the Golden Plover in Great Britain. Bird Study 23(2): 63-116.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Pluvialis apricaria. Downloaded from on 23/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/04/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Charadriidae (Plovers)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,170,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species