American Golden-Plover: Medium sandpiper with black face, underparts. Back is dark brown with yellow spots; has a white S-shaped mark along head and sides. Markings provide camouflage to blend in with tundra breeding grounds. Bill is black, thin, and short. Swift direct flight on rapid wing beats.
Range and Habitat
American Golden-Plover: Among the widest ranging birds in the world, this species breeds on tundra from Alaska east to Baffin Island and migrates south over the Atlantic Ocean from Canadian Maritimes to South America; some birds winter on islands in Pacific and appear along west coast during migration. Preferred habitats include shores and prairies.
The American Golden-Plover annually performs one of the longest migrations of any American bird. They fly up to 20,000 miles per year, usually including a nonstop flight of 3,000-3,500 miles over the Atlantic.
They may be capable of maintaining seeds in their digestive tract to help them survive these long flights.
Weighing in at less than 0.5 pound, they are considered the fastest flying shorebird, reaching speeds of 60 mph.
A group of plovers has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "congregation", "deceit", "ponderance" and "wing" of plovers.
The American Golden-Plover has a fairly large range of almost 4 million square kilometers. It is native to a host of countries throughout North America and Central America. It has also been seen in a variety of other locations around the world, including South African and many locales in Europe. The population of the American Golden-Plover is around 150,000 individual birds. Although this species of bird had an evaluation of Lower Concern in 2000, that evaluation was changed in 2000 to reflect a Least Concern evaluation due to the low level of concern regarding population levels.