Pacific Golden Plover

Did you know?

The Pacific Golden Plover flies further than any other bird on their annual migration other than the Arctic Tern. The tern, being an oceanic bird, can feed in the water while the plover cannot.

Clear and melodic: "Quee"
Facts and Figures
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Breeding season: 
June to July
Clutch Size: 
26 days
Nestling Period: 
30 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Pacific Golden Plover is a slender upright shorebird (wader), with a rounded head, slim neck, short fine bill and long legs. It has large eyes. In breeding plumage, the underparts from the tail to the chin including the eye are black with white flecking on the tail. The upperparts, crown and wings are golden brown with white and black flecks on the wings. A continuous white flank line separates the upper and underparts, running from above the eye back to the tail, and black flecking is visible under the wing. When not breeding, it has a broad, buff brown to white eyebrow and the upperparts are duller, being golden brown with white spots and the underparts are brown to light grey. Young birds are similar to non-breeding adults but the breast is mottled brownish-yellow and grey-brown and the birds have a light yellow eyebrow. The Pacific Golden Plover is also know as the Eastern, Lesser or Least Golden Plover.

Similar species: 

The non breeding or juvenile Grey Plover, P. squatarola, is similar to the Pacific Golden Plover, but is larger and bulkier, with a more hunched outline and thicker bill. The American Golden Plover, P. dominica, is very similar, with only slight differences in wings, plumage and voice, but is not a common visitor to Australia.

Where does it live?

The Pacific Golden Plover breeds on the Arctic tundra in western Alaska. It winters in South America and islands of the Pacific Ocean to India, Indonesia and Australia. In Australia it is widespread along the coastline.


The Pacific Golden Plover is found on muddy, rocky and sandy wetlands, shores, paddocks, saltmarsh, coastal golf courses, estuaries and lagoons.

Seasonal movements: 

The Pacific Golden Plover is migratory, arriving in Australia in September and leaving again mostly in April. A few remain here in the winter.

What does it do?

The Pacific Golden Plover eats molluscs, insects, worms, crustaceans, lizards and is known to eat birds' eggs and small fish.


The Pacific Golden Plover breeds in Alaska in June and July.

Living with us

The Pacific Golden Plover population closer to parts of Sydney has reduced in numbers and residential development has destroyed some roosting and feeding sites.

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