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Dieren en planten

Waders   Plovers   Ringed plover   European golden plover   Avocet   Lapwing   

Golden plover


length: 26-29 centimeters
wingspan: 67-76 centimeters


220 grams


summer: golden back with black belly, separated by white stripe
winter: light belly with brown spots


record: 12 years


Insects, shellfish and worms, grass and seeds


maturity: 1 year
number: 4 eggs

  • Dut: Goudplevier
  • Eng: European golden plover
  • Ger: Goldregenpfeifer
  • Fries: Wilster
  • Lat: Pluvialis apricaria
  • Fr: Pluvier doré
European golden plover, Foto Fitis,

Golden plover

Golden plovers have beautiful plumage: a golden speckled back with a black belly. In the winter, they lose their black belly and have a much drabbier appearance. Golden plovers nest in open terrains in the high north. The males perform a collective dance in order to attract a female. They run towards each other with their wings spread open, jump over one another. The female chooses the best jumper. You see golden plovers in the Netherlands primarily during bird migration. This bird is responsible for the start of the Guinness Book of Records!


Golden plovers don't nest on Texel but you do see them a lot on the island. They are called wilsters by Texelaars and Frisians. There is even a street named after them in Den Burg: the Wilsterstraat. Sometimes, there are thousands of wilsters on the island. A wilster flap is a Dutch term for a clap-net used to hunt golden plovers in the 17th and 18th century.

  • Did you know that...

    ... golden plovers are the reason why the first Guinness Book of Records was published? The chairmen of the Guinness Brewery were at a shooting party in Ireland in the early 1950s and were in discussion as to whether or not the golden plover was the fastest bird in the world.

    It may not be the fastest bird in the world, but they are one of the few waders that use sight to forage at night.

  • Distribution and habitat

    During breeding season, you find golden plovers wherever tundra and extensive peat bogs are located: northern regions such as Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, Scandinavia, Iceland and the Baltic States. They spend the winter further south, in southern Europe and western Africa.

    Outside of the breeding season, you can find lots of golden plovers in the Netherlands. This country is located along the migration route from nesting grounds in the high north and the warm south. The first golden plovers slowly start arriving in July, but the most are seen at the end of October and November. During mild winters, they will stay in large groups in the Netherlands. But as soon as it starts to snow and temperatures drop to freezing, these birds move further south.