Counts of spring passage golden plover pluvialis apricaria in north lewis

S. Rae*, M. G.W. Jones, F. Stewart, R. Tingay

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In spring, large numbers of Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria feed in lowland areas of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, and many of these are presumed to be birds which breed in Iceland. This study estimated how many Icelandic birds pass through north Lewis, the most northerly part of the island group. Birds were counted during spring 2005, and samples of these birds were scored on a scale of 0–9 by the boldness of their plumage. Northern Golden Plover have bolder breeding plumage than southern forms. Birds with scores of 5–9 were recorded early in the season and these were believed to be of the altifrons form which breed in Iceland. Locally breeding birds of the apricaria form were found to have plumage scores of 2–5 for females and 6–8 for males. From counts and the proportion of birds with high plumage scores, an estimated minimum of 14,000 Icelandic Golden Plover passed through north Lewis that spring. This represents 4.7% of the Icelandic breeding population and 5.6% of the UK wintering population. The birds used lowland grasslands as foraging areas during stopover on passage to their breeding grounds, and these could be important for the conservation of Icelandic Golden Plover.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)253-258
    Number of pages6
    JournalRinging and Migration
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


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