Grey plover

The grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola), known as the black-bellied plover in North America, is a medium-sized plover breeding in Arctic regions. It is a long-distance migrant, with a nearly worldwide coastal distribution when not breeding.[2] The genus name is Latin and means relating to rain, from pluvia, "rain". It was believed that golden plovers flocked when rain was imminent. The species name squatarola is a Latinised version of Sgatarola, a Venetian name for some kind of plover.[3]

Grey plover
Pluvialis squatarola (summer plumage)
Adult in breeding plumage
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Charadriidae
Genus: Pluvialis
Species:
P. squatarola
Binomial name
Pluvialis squatarola
Pluvialis squatarola map
Synonyms

Tringa squatarola Linnaeus, 1758

Grey plover (2)
Grey plover in non-breeding plumage from Arnala, Virar, Maharashtra, India in February 2016

Description

They are 27–30 cm (11–12 in) long with a wingspan of 71–83 cm (28–33 in) and a weight of 190–280 g (6.7–9.9 oz) (up to 345 g (12.2 oz) in preparation for migration). In spring and summer (late April or May to August), the adults are spotted black and white on the back and wings. The face and neck are black with a white border; they have a black breast and belly and a white rump. The tail is white with black barring. The bill and legs are black. They moult to winter plumage in mid August to early September and retain this until April; this being a fairly plain grey above, with a grey-speckled breast and white belly. The juvenile and first-winter plumages, held by young birds from fledging until about one year old, are similar to the adult winter plumage but with the back feathers blacker with creamy white edging. In all plumages, the inner flanks and axillary feathers at the base of the underwing are black, a feature which readily distinguishes it from the other three Pluvialis species in flight. On the ground, it can also be told from the other Pluvialis species by its larger (24–34 mm, 0.94–1.34 in), heavier bill.[2][4]

Breeding and migration

Their breeding habitat is Arctic islands and coastal areas across the northern coasts of Alaska, Canada, and Russia. They nest on the ground in a dry open tundra with good visibility; the nest is a shallow gravel scrape. Four eggs (sometimes only three) are laid in early June, with an incubation period of 26–27 days; the chicks fledge when 35–45 days old.[2][4]

They migrate to winter in coastal areas throughout the world. In the New World they winter from southwest British Columbia and Massachusetts south to Argentina and Chile, in the western Old World from Ireland and southwestern Norway south throughout coastal Africa to South Africa, and in the eastern Old World, from southern Japan south throughout coastal southern Asia and Australia, with a few reaching New Zealand. Most of the migrants to Australia are female. It makes regular non-stop transcontinental flights over Asia, Europe, and North America, but is mostly a rare vagrant on the ground in the interior of continents, only landing occasionally if forced down by severe weather, or to feed on the coast-like shores of very large lakes such as the Great Lakes, where it is a common passage migrant.[2][4][5]

Young birds do not breed until two years old; they typically remain on the wintering grounds until their second summer.[2][4]

Feeding

They forage for food on beaches and tidal flats, usually by sight. The food consists of small molluscs, polychaete worms, crustaceans, and insects. It is less gregarious than the other Pluvialis species, not forming dense feeding flocks, instead feeding widely dispersed over beaches, with birds well spaced apart. They will however form dense flocks on high tide roosts.[2][4]

Status

The grey plover is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Gallery

Pluvialis squatarola

Adult in winter plumage

Pluvialis squatarola MHNT

Pluvialis squatarola egg

Pluvialis squaterola jcwf3

Bird in first-winter plumage; inset, in flight, showing the black axillaries and white rump and barred tail

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Pluvialis squatarola". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Hayman, P.; Marchant, J.; Prater, T. (1986). Shorebirds. Croom Helm. ISBN 0-7099-2034-2.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 311, 363. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ a b c d e Snow, D.W.; Perrins, C.M. (1998). The Birds of the Western Palearctic (Concise ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854099-X.
  5. ^ Dickinson, M.B.; et al., eds. (1999). Field Guide to the Birds of North America. National Geographic. ISBN 0-7922-7451-2.

External links

Angle, Pembrokeshire

Angle (Welsh: Angl) is a village, parish and community on the southern side of the entrance to the Milford Haven Waterway in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It has a school, two pubs, a village shop with a post office and St Mary's church. There is a bus link to Pembroke railway station.

The Sailors' Chapel, a Grade I listed building, is in the church graveyard.

At Castle Farm, there is a Pele tower and above Castle Bay there are the remains of an Iron Age fort. On the headland there are visible remains of medieval strip farming.

Angle bay is a wilderness of mud and sand making it a good home for invertebrates making it popular with many bird species such as dunlin, grey plover, common redshank, Eurasian oystercatcher and Eurasian curlew. The nearby Kilpaison Marsh has been a breeding area for Cetti's warbler in the reed beds and scrub. West Angle Bay is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with rock pools which are home to the rare cushion starfish, and also a sandy beach .The Angle Lifeboat Station received silver medals in 1878 for rescuing the crew of the Loch Shiel from rocks near Thorn Island. The ship had been carrying a cargo of whisky and beer.

Anjouan scops owl

The Anjouan scops owl (Otus capnodes) is an owl endemic to the island of Anjouan in the Comoro Islands.

Benfleet and Southend Marshes

Benfleet and Southend Marshes is an 8.1-square-mile (21 km2) Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Essex. It consists of mudflats, salt marshes, scrub and wild grassland, and includes the Southend-on-Sea foreshore. It has been so recognised for its biological (including ecological) value, rather than geological. A definition five percent larger forms the Benfleet and Southend Marshes Ramsar site and Special Protection Area. In the centre-west, more than ten percent of the Site is the Leigh National Nature Reserve (NNR), which has been appraised in detail in A Nature Conservation Review as a site of national importance. The SSSI and NNR include the eastern half of Two Tree Island, in Leigh on Sea which is managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust. A narrow majority of the Site is the Southend on Sea Foreshore Local Nature Reserve.The marshes and mudflats have internationally important numbers of wildfowl and wading birds, including the dark-bellied brent goose, grey plover, redshank and red knot. Scarce invertebrates, such as the white-letter hairstreak and marbled white butterfly, have adapted to specific habitats in the marshes.

Blackwater Estuary

The Blackwater Estuary is the estuary of the River Blackwater between Maldon and West Mersea in Essex. It is a 5,538 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). An area of 4,395 hectares is also designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, and a Special Protection Area 1,099 hectares is a National Nature Reserve. Tollesbury Wick and part of Abbotts Hall Farm, both nature reserve managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust, are in the SSSI.Oysters have been harvested from the estuary for more than a thousand years and there are remains of fish weirs from the Anglo-Saxon era. At the head of the estuary is the town of Maldon, which is a centre of salt production. The other major settlement is the town West Mersea, of Mersea Island, on the northern seaward side. Numerous other villages are on its banks.

Within the estuary is Northey Island which was the location for the first experiments in the UK in 'managed retreat', i.e. creating saltmarsh by setting sea walls back from what are perceived to be unsustainable positions. The area is notable as a breeding area for little tern (Sternula albifrons) and as a transit point for ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula).

Over-wintering species

Pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa islandica)

Dark-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla bernicla)

Dunlin (Calidris alpina alpina)

Eurasian golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus)

Common redshank (Tringa totanus)

Ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

Common shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)The Estuary is also the current mooring location for the Ross Revenge, the home of former pirate station Radio Caroline

Dengie nature reserve

Dengie nature reserve is a 3,105 hectare biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest between the estuaries of the Blackwater and Crouch near Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex. It is also a National Nature Reserve, a Special Protection Area, a Nature Conservation Review site, a Geological Conservation Review site and a Ramsar site. It is part of the Essex estuaries Special Area of Conservation. An area of 12 hectares is the Bradwell Shell Bank nature reserve, which is managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.It consists of large, remote area of tidal mud-flats and salt marshes at the eastern end of the Dengie peninsula . The Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall overlooks some of the site.

It is a wetland of international importance and provides habitats for:

Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica)

Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus)

Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

knot (Calidris canutus)

Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa islandica)

Dunlin (Calidris alpina alpina)

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

Dark-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla bernicla)

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Iberian Peninsula

The Iberian Peninsula , simply known as Iberia, is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Spain and Portugal, comprising most of their territory. It also includes Andorra, small areas of France, and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. With an area of approximately 596,740 square kilometres (230,400 sq mi)), it is both the second largest European peninsula by area, after the Scandinavian Peninsula, and by population, after the Balkan Peninsula.

Kumana National Park

Kumana National Park in Sri Lanka is renowned for its avifauna, particularly its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. The park is 391 kilometres (243 mi) southeast of Colombo on Sri Lanka's southeastern coast. Kumana is contiguous with Yala National Park. Kumana was formerly known as Yala East National Park, but changed to its present name on 5th September 2006.The park was closed from 1985 to March 2003 because of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) attacks. It was also affected by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.

Lough Foyle

Lough Foyle, sometimes Loch Foyle (Irish: Loch Feabhail, meaning "Feabhal's loch" or "loch of the lip"), is the estuary of the River Foyle, on the north coast of Ireland. It lies between County Londonderry in Northern Ireland and County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. Sovereignty over these waters has been in dispute since the Partition of Ireland.

Merja Zerga

Merja Zerga or Lagune de Moulay Bou Selham is a tidal lagoon on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, 70 km north of the city of Kenitra. Classified as a Permanent Biological Reserve in 1978, it is managed by several government agencies.The lagoon, which covers 4,500 hectares, receives water from the Oued Drader and from the local water table. Its average depth is 1.5 metres. The area's annual rainfall (600–700 mm) results in winter floods that inundate the surrounding areas.

A Ramsar Convention site, the lagoon hosts 100 bird species and has been identified as a key site on the East Atlantic Flyway. Between 15,000 and 30,000 ducks overwinter at the lagoon, and it regularly holds 50,000 to 100,000 waders. Its permanent species include Asio capensis. Winter visitors include ruddy shelduck, common shelduck, gadwall, Eurasian wigeon, northern shoveler, marbled teal, greater flamingo, common coot, pied avocet, grey plover, and slender-billed curlew.

Mud Islands

The Mud Islands reserve is located within Port Phillip, about 90 km (56 mi) south-west of Melbourne, Australia, lying 10 km (6.2 mi) inside Port Phillip Heads, 7 km (4.3 mi) north of Portsea and 9 km (5.6 mi) east of Queenscliff. The land area of about 50 hectares (120 acres) is made up of three low-lying islands surrounding a shallow tidal 35-hectare (86-acre) lagoon connected to the sea by three narrow channels. The shapes and configuration of the islands change over the years due to movement of sand by tidal currents.

Plover

Plovers ( or ) are a widely distributed group of wading birds belonging to the subfamily Charadriinae.

Pluvialis

Pluvialis is a genus of plovers, a group of wading birds comprising four species that breed in the temperate or Arctic Northern Hemisphere.

In breeding plumage, they all have largely black underparts, and golden or silvery upperparts. They have relatively short bills and feed mainly on insects, worms or other invertebrates, depending on habitat, which are obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups. They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as do longer-billed waders.

Ras Al Khor

Ras Al Khor (Arabic: رَأْس ٱلْخَوْر‎, romanized: Raʾs Al-Khawr) is a wetland reserve in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, renowned for attracting migratory birds in large numbers. The wetlands have large numbers of birds, crustaceans, small mammals and fish.Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary represents an enclave of relative wilderness amidst swirling traffic and sprawling urban infrastructure. Located just as the name in Arabic suggests - at the Cape of the Creek, it is among the few urban protected areas of the world.

The Dubai Municipality has taken great efforts to protect and preserve the biodiversity of this delicate ecosystem. The wetland has been fenced off from the public and three birding hides have been built. The bird hides are a first step towards development of more elaborate visitor education facilities in the protected area. WWF UAE Project Office collaborated with Dubai Municipality's Environment Department, in setting up the facilities that were sponsored by the National Bank of Dubai.

Opportunities for experiencing a natural environment in this rapidly building-up emirate are so limited that the opening of Ras Al Khor to visitors is a boon to present and potential nature lovers.

Presently there are three birding hides located on the perimeter of the sanctuary open to the public. Entrance is free and operate from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday to Thursday.

Ras Al Khor is also home to about 500 greater flamingoes (Phoenicopterus roseus), which has become something of a mascot for Dubai's Wild Life protection program.

Ribble and Alt Estuaries

The Ribble and Alt Estuaries lie on the Irish Sea coast of the counties of Lancashire and Merseyside in north-west England, and form the boundaries of a number of nature preservation schemes.

River Otter, Devon

The River Otter rises in the Blackdown Hills just inside the county of Somerset, England near Otterford, then flows south for some 32 km through East Devon to the English Channel at the western end of Lyme Bay, part of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Permian and Triassic sandstone aquifer in the Otter Valley is one of Devon's largest groundwater sources, supplying drinking water to 200,000 people.

Shag Island (South Australia)

Shag Island is a low island located at the mouth of Fisherman's Bay in Spencer Gulf, South Australia. It is approximately 22 ha (54 acres) in size with a peak elevation of approximately 4 metres (13 feet). It is uninhabited by humans but is home to thousands of cormorants which roost and breed there. It is also an important nursery-ground for fish. In April 2013, the discovery of several sick and dead cormorants near Fisherman's Bay raised public concerns for the health of the Shag Island colony. The discovery coincided with significant fish and dolphin mortality events around the state, mostly concentrated in Spencer Gulf and Gulf St. Vincent.

St. François Atoll

St. François Atoll is one of two atolls of the Alphonse Group in the Seychelles that are part of the Outer Islands.

Stour Estuary RSPB reserve

The Stour Estuary is a nature reserve in Essex, England, east of Colchester on the estuary of the River Stour, managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The reserve is unusual in that it consists of two divergent habitat types: intertidal mudflats (fringed by saltmarsh and estuarine reeds), and 130 acres (0.5 km2) of deciduous woodland, mainly oak and coppiced sweet chestnut.

The estuary is important as a breeding, roosting and wintering site for many waterfowl and other birds, including woodpeckers, nightingale, blackcap, whitethroat, sedge warbler, reed warbler, European wigeon, common shelduck, northern pintail, common teal, dark-bellied brant goose, grey plover, common redshank, Eurasian curlew, dunlin and black-tailed godwit.

Mammals to be seen include red fox (Vulpes vulpes), badger (Meles meles), grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) and hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius).

Butterflies and rare moths include white admiral (Limenitis camilla), chocolate-tip moth (Clostera curtula) and peach blossom moth (Thyatira batis).

In the Spring, the woodland floor is covered with wood anemones creating a spectacular display.

The Stour Estuary is the focus of Arthur Ransome's 1939 children's novel, Secret Water.

The Swale

The Swale is a tidal channel of the Thames estuary that separates the Isle of Sheppey from the rest of Kent. On its banks is a 6,509.4-hectare (16,085-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest which stretches from Sittingbourne to Whitstable in Kent. It is also a Ramsar internationally important wetland site and a Special Protection Area under the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds. Parts of it are a Nature Conservation Review site, Grade I, National Nature Reserves, a Kent Wildlife Trust nature reserve and a Local Nature Reserve.

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