Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola). Taken at Titchwell, Norfolk, on October 10th 2017.
Taken at Titchwell, Norfolk, on October 10th 2017.
(1/400th sec at f11. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)


L: 26 - 29 cm; WS: 56 - 63 cm

In summer the Grey Plover has silver and black spotted upperparts, a black face, neck and belly. In winter it loses the black feathers and takes on a greyish-brown appearance. In both plumages, the rump is white, and in flight in winter it shows distinctive black 'armpits'.

It breeds in the high Arctic. It migrates to W Europe, where some birds spend the winter, but most go on to Africa. In the UK it is mostly found along coasts, preferring large muddy and sandy estuaries.

The Grey Plover's breeding habitat is Arctic islands and coastal areas across the northern coasts of Alaska, Canada, and Russia. They nest on the ground in dry open tundra with good visibility; the nest is a shallow gravel scrape.

Like most plovers it stands very upright, and tends to run and then suddenly stop to feed.

It has Amber status on the UK list. Around 43000 birds over-winter here.


03-Oct-2019 : Stiffkey, Norfolk (1)
10-Oct-2017 : Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk (1)
09-Oct-2017 : Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk (2)
21-Apr-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
06-Nov-2016 : Barbate, Spain (2)
05-Nov-2016 : Playa de Los Lances, Spain (6+)