Pacific golden plover: bird of the week

Pluvialis fulva, the Pacific golden plover, is quite a remarkable bird. I’d never given it much attention, thinking of it as just another of the brown climate refugees that you find in Indian wetlands during winters. But just a little thought would have told me that it must be a remarkable flyer, crossing from its summer breeding grounds on the shorelines of the northern Pacific to its wintering grounds in the eastern Indian Ocean. In fact, it is among the more remarkable flyers in the world, with some individuals logging well over 12,000 kms in each season.

In February when I saw a group of them in Mangalajodi I realized that they begin to develop the magnificent breeding colours before setting off. You can see in the photo above that the individual at the back has begun to develop the spectacular gold and black plumage that gives the species its name. They are not drab and brown any longer. When I went back last weekend, in the middle of March, they were gone. Good luck with sightings, those of you who are waiting for its return half a world away.

There aren’t many places on WordPress where bird watchers can share posts. If you post any photos of birds this week (starting today and up to next Monday), it would be great if you could leave a link in the comments, or a pingback, for others to follow. There is no compulsion to post a recent photo, but it would help others to know when and where you saw the bird. You might consider using the tag “Bird of the Week” in case people search for old posts using it.


By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


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