European golden plover

    European golden plover

    Pluvialis apricaria

Castilian: Chorlito dorado europeo

Catalan: Daurada grossa

Gallego: Píldora dourada

Euskera: Urre-txirri arrunta


Orden: Charadriiformes

Family: Charadriidae

Migratory status: Winter resident


On the National List of Threatened Species, it appears in the “Of Special Interest” category. In the 2004 edition of the Red Book of Spanish Birds (Libro Rojo de las Aves de España) it is listed as “Not Evaluated”.


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The transformation of its habitat into irrigation systems and uncontrolled hunting are the principal threats.

Length / size: 25-28 cm / 53-59 cm

Identification: Medium-sized wader with a very short bill compared to its robust body. During mating season, the adult male has an intense black colour that covers his face, throat, breast and belly, all of which is surrounded by a white stripe that separates it from his back, where a mixture of golden, black and yellow spots and stripes are predominant. Outside of mating season its plumage is more homogeneous and cryptic.

Song: It makes a mournful "pooo-peeoo" sound.

Diet: It feeds on both invertebrates, whether they be worms or insects, and plant matter, such as berries, seeds and grass. It catches its food on the surface or by burying its bill in the silt.

Reproduction: Breeding begins in May, and the bird breeds alone. The nest is built in a depression in the ground, among vegetation or large rocks, and it is covered with moss and plants. The eggs are cryptic and the chicks, shortly after hatching, move about and feed on their own.


In winter and during migration it occupies wet prairies, pastureland with ponds, coastal areas and estuaries. In coastal locations it is found on open land that is near the beach, where it is in the company of other waders.


In Spain: It is evenly distributed throughout Extremadura and western Andalusia. Its wintering areas are in the pasturelands of Campo Arañuelo, in Cáceres, La Serena (Badajoz), the Campo de Gibraltar.

In Castile and León: It is distributed throughout all the provinces, although to a lesser extent in Burgos and Soria.

Movements and migrations: It is a migratory species that, at the end of summer, moves from its breeding areas to its wintering areas. They begin to reach our latitudes in October, where they will remain until March. During their migrations, they follow the Atlantic and Cantabrian coasts, and even inland bodies of water.


In Spain: There is an estimated population of several tens of thousands of wintering specimens.

In Castile and León: