Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva


The Pacific Golden-Plover breeds mainly in Arctic Asia, although a few also breed in westernmost Alaska. Some of these birds migrate south to winter in the New World, particularly in California and W Mexico. Up until relatively recently this and the American Golden-Plover were considered part of the same species, the “Lesser” Golden-Plover. The two were found to breed side by side in parts of Alaska, primarily studied outside of Nome, and the two rarely if ever interbreed. They are very similar in plumage, but aerial displays are quite different; it appears that display as opposed to plumage is what maintains these two species separate. In breeding plumage the Pacific Golden Plover is black below and beautifully speckled with golden spots on the upperparts; unlike the American Golden-Plover, the Pacific shows entirely white sides and flanks as well as white undertail coverts. Structurally this is a shorter-winged species, due to shorter migration distance, and longer billed and longer legged than the closely related American. Thus far the Pacific Golden-Plover has not been sighted in South America, although it is expected to at some point show up on the Pacific Coast somewhere. Although many Pacifics winter in the northern hemisphere, largely in Pacific Island groups, but many also winter in the southern hemisphere. Thus far it seems like the wintering individuals in the New World are those which winter in the northern hemisphere.

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Repeated calls or flight song

© Michael Andersen

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: