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Pacific Golden Plover - BirdForum Opus

Breeding Adult
Photo © by Doug Greenberg
Kualoa Park, Oahu, Hawaii, 6 April 2004
Pluvialis fulva


Photo © by James Wang
Shanghai, China, 26 August 2003

23–26 cm (9-10¼ in)
Breeding Adult

  • Upperparts, crown and hind neck are blackish strongly spotted with gold
  • A white band across forehead, supercilium and sides of neck
  • Black underparts
  • Dark grey legs
  • Black bill


  • Loses black underparts
  • Less gold upperparts

Juvenile: resembles winter adult but has an almost white forehead and supercilium. The flanks are chevroned with dusky-yellow but belly and vent are whitish.

Similar Species

Eurasian Golden Plover: a slightly larger, stockier bird, but with shorter primary extension and shorter legs.
American Golden Plover: Pacific Golden Plover is bit lighter and "golder" overall. Has same white at forehead but not quite as thick, white runs down along sides, thickens at wing bend but continues along the flanks, does not abruptly stop as in the American Golden Plover.


Photo © by Ken Doy
Lord Howe Island, Australia, 26 February 2019

Breeds in the tundra of (Siberia and western Alaska). Winters in south Asia, Australasia and the Pacific Ocean islands, notably Hawaii.

A regular vagrant to Europe, north-eastern Africa and California.


This is a monotypic species[1].

In the past, it was often considered a subspecies of American Golden Plover (sensu lato) by some authors, under the name 'Lesser Golden Plover'[2].


Breeds on arctic and sub-arctic tundra and in stony, gently sloping uplands. Winters at water edges, marshlands, swamps, coastal mudflats, rice-fields, and on short-grass expanses


Non-breeding Adult
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Waimea Canyon, Kauai County, Hawaii, USA, 8 January 2020

They may form large flocks on their winter feeding grounds.


Diet includes molluscs, worms, crustaceans, spiders. During breeding, berries, seeds and leaves are added. They use the typical 'plover' feeding action of 'run and stop'.


They make their nest as a shallow scrape lined with lichens. Four eggs are laid, incubated by both parents (26 days). After hatching, the chicks and parents move off to moist shrubby or grassy tundra. When threatened, the parent distracts the predator from the nest or chicks by pretending to have a broken wing. Both parents raise the young, but if the brood is late, only by the male.


Call: A loud tu-it or keruit or kyew-eek.


They are long-distance migrants breeding from the Russian Far-East to northern Alaska and migrating as far as Australia and New Zealand.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Stanley Cramp, chief editor et al. (1977). Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford; New York.
  4. BirdForum Member Observations
  5. Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53818 on 24 January 2020).
  6. Chandler, R. (2009). Shorebirds of North America, Europe, and Asia: A photographic guide. Princeton.
  7. Johnson, O. W., P. G. Connors, and P. Pyle (2019). Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva), version 3.1. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.pagplo.03.1
  8. O'Brien, M, Crossley, R. & Karlson, K. (2006). The Shorebird Guide. Houghton Mifflin.
  9. Paulson, D. 2005. Shorebirds of North Amrica: The Photographic Guide. Princeton Univ. Press. .
  10. Pratt, H.D., Bruner, P., and Berrett, D.G. (1987) A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Princeton University Press.
  11. Pyle, R.L., and P. Pyle. 2017. The Birds of the Hawaiian Islands: Occurrence, History, Distribution, and Status. B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI, U.S.A. Version 2 (1 January 2017) http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/birds/rlp-monograph/

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