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 European Golden Plover  (Pluvialis apricaria )



Identification: The small head, short bill, plump, rounded body and run-stop-and-peck feeding manner identifies these birds as plovers. In all plumages they are smaller and browner than Grey Plovers. In summer their backs are beautifully spangled with golden markings and they have a variable amount of black in their head, throat and belly. In flight they look uniformly dull brown above with just a trace of a pale wing bar. The underwing is white. Birds from the north of the breeding range tend to show more black on their head and underparts.

Habitat: Breeds on moorland peat bogs. Winters on estuaries, moorland and farmland.

Distribution: A common breeding bird of the upland moors of Scotland and northern England, with a few pairs in Wales and Dartmoor. In winter, when numbers are swelled dramatically by birds from the continent they favour arable farmland (often in mixed flocks with Lapwings), but also frequent coastal marshes and estuaries.

Breeds widely in northern Europe, mostly on high moorland and tundra. Wintering flocks can be seen in many parts of western and southern Europe, especially in farmland areas by the coast.

Population: The British breeding population is estimated at roughly 22 600 pairs, which shows a 23% reduction since the previous count (between 1968-72). Only 400 pairs breed in Ireland. Wintering populations are much higher, in the range 200 000-310 000 birds for Britain and Ireland.

At least 470 000 pairs breed within Europe.

 Source: Internet
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