Eurasian Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Golden Plover, Musselburgh, Scotland, September 2002 - click for larger image Scotland

The Eurasian Golden Plover breeds in arctic and sub-arctic latitudes of Europe, northern Siberia and eastern Greenland as well as in moorland and peat bogs generally above the tree line in such places as Scotland and northern England. During the winter they migrate southwards but mainly within Europe although some groups reach northern and West Africa.

Golden Plover, Musselburgh, Scotland, October 2002 - click for larger image In winter they seem to prefer pastures and open farmland or, at the coast, foreshore rather than tidal flats which is why they tend to mix with Lapwing Vanellus vanellus at this time of the year.

They form fairly large flocks in winter and are quite nervous, taking to the air frequently and showing a rather faint, narrow, whitish wing-bar.

Male Golden Plover, Yell, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image

The first 2 photos show the non-breeding plumage where there is no black. The 3rd photo shows two males in breeding plumage. They have acquired black on the cheeks, down the central throat and chest and onto the belly. This is surrounded by white. These birds show a rather washed out black indicating that they are the "southern" variant. "Northern" males show a much deeper black.

Female Golden Plover, Yell, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image The 4th photo shows a "southern" female in breeding plumage. The black is restricted to the belly
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