Pacific Golden Plover


Another visitor to Singapore’s shores, the Pacific golden plover is a medium-sized plover that can fly 4,500km non-stop in flocks of a few hundred to thousands of birds.

The adult has gold spots and a black crown, and a similar pattern on the back of the wings. Its face and neck are black with a white border, and it has a black breast and a dark rump. The legs are also black.

In winter, the black is lost and the plover then has a yellowish face and breast, and white underparts.  The winter plumage of brown and golden spangles on the wings is the one usually seen at Sungei Buloh (as shown in the drawing). But during late July and August, when they first arrive in Singapore, and in April, when the last few birds fly off to their breeding sites, some may have on their breeding colours: a beautiful black from face to belly; a richer and brighter gold on their wings; and a prominent white stripe that extends from the base of its beak, up over their eyes and down the sides of their breast.

Also, another interesting aspect of this bird comes from its scientific name. The Pacific golden plover’s scientific name Pluvia fulva, originates from the Latin word pluvia that means “rain” and fulva that refers to a tawny color.


  1. Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 166, 311. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  2. BirdLife International (2012). “Pluvialis fulva”. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012: e.T22693735A38568056. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T22693735A38568056.

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