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© Dave Appleton

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

A wading bird is often a nocturnal feeder.The Golden Plover arrives onto the mountain tops from its lowland wintering grounds in the  spring. The Cumbrian  breeding population of 1,500 is found mainly in the northern Pennines with a few in the Lake District high fells.




Habitat – preferred breeding areas of short vegetation or bare ground on upland heath or blanket bogs.

Appearance – stand upright and run in short bursts, in winter they form large flocks which fly in tight formation with rapid twinkling wing beats.

– a lonely sounding “pee-we-oo”.

– variety of small creatures including beetles and worms, caterpillars, moths and some plant matter including leaves berries and seeds.

Population changes / conservation
– numbers declined after Second World War due to land drainage schemes and tree planting, also increased sheep numbers and greater use of upland areas for human recreation. Population is now fairly stable and should be helped by adoption of agri- environment schemes, although changes in climate may have the final say on whether this charismatic species continues as a breeding bird in Cumbria.