|Scientific name:||Calidris alpina|
Summer visitor from NW Africa/SW Europe, winter visitor from Scandinavia to Siberia, passage migrant from Greenland (heading south to winter in Africa). Most occur during the mid-winter period.
One of the smaller waders and our most abundant one in winter and on passage. A limited number breed in some sandy / grassy locations along the west and north coasts. Plumage is highly variable - in summer, rich chestnut above, streaked on breast, white below with a striking black patch on the belly. The more usually encountered winter plumage bird shows a rather non-descript, uniform, plain brownish-grey on all upperparts and cold white underparts. Juveniles in autumn have warm brown tones on the upperparts and considerable streaking on the breast and underparts. There are many other variations and combinations, depending on the bird's state of moult. It is a rather dumpy bird, with black legs and a longish bill which downcurves slightly. Often occurs in very large flocks. An important bird to get to know (in all its plumages) if you want to successfully identify other similar-sized waders.
A harsh churring trill - "thrrrreeep"
Feed predominantly on small invertebrates of estuarine mudflats, particularly polychaete worms and small gastropods. They feed in flocks, in the muddier sections of the estuaries and close to the tide edge.
Nests on the ground in sparse, low vegetation - in Ireland favours machair habitats
Common along all coastal areas - especially on tidal mudflats and estuaries. Very few inland.
Irish Wetland Bird Survey.
Scattered breeding range, mostly West and North-Western upland blanket bog habitats.
Common Winter visitor and passage migrant. Shannon & Fergus Estuary in County Clare and Dundalk Bay in County Louth regularly support >10,000 birds. Other important sites include Cork Harbour in County Cork, Lough Swilly in Donegal and Strangford Lough in Down (6,000- 9,000 birds).
Blog posts about this bird
Government must find 17 million euro to save Ireland’s most threatened farmland birds
|Breeding Waders||Conservation Status (BoCCI 2020)||Percent Change 1970-2010||Percent Change 1990-2010|
|Golden Plover||Red List*||-50||-42|
|Figures from Bird Atlas 2013|
|* = Annex 1 Birds Directive|