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Grey plover

What am I?

I am a medium sized wading bird.

Where do I come from?

In summer many of us breed in the upland moorlands of the UK before moving to lowland fields, farmlands and coastal estuaries in the winter. Much larger numbers of us can be seen in winter as we are joined by our friends who come from breeding grounds in northern Europe, Iceland, and Scandinavia.

A bit about me

In summer we are distinguished by our beautiful black and gold speckled plumage but in winter the black disappears and we develop a paler, buff coloured plumage on our throats, chest and belly. In flight our golden feathers shimmer in the sunlight. We form large flocks and will often stand upright and run in short bursts. We feed on worms, beetles and insects.

Local spotlight

We can be found all around the Solent during the winter, especially around the Newtown and Yar estuaries on the Isle of Wight, Chichester and Langstone Harbours, Southampton Water and the northwest Solent.

Conservation status

I’m green listed in the UK

My name might not be listed in the Solent’s Special Protection Areas but I am still definitely important for the coastal ecosystem and form part of the non-breeding waterbird assemblages which these regions are protected for.

Fun fact

We are good friends with lapwings and can sometimes be found in their company. In flight we can be distinguished from them by our wings which are sharp and pointed, compared to the rounded wings and floppy flight of the lapwings.