Formerly known as the Lesser Golden-Plover, this species breeds only in North America on the tundra region of both the mainland and much of the High Arctic islands. It is an uncommon spring and rare autumn migrant throughout most of the province, mainly away from the mountains.
Earliest spring arrival date is 6 May. They occur on beaches and shores, but also frequent dry, short-grass fields, pastures and ploughed land. They are attracted to recently burned areas. Occasionally, one or more may be with a flock of the slightly larger and more numerous Black-bellied Plovers. Local records are from Eagle and Namaka Lake, Irricana area, Langdon Reservoir and some of the larger nearby sloughs.
Autumn migrants are fewer in number, with the first failed breeders arriving by early July. Most, however, visit during the last three weeks of September and the first three of October. Many autumn migrants apparently depart from the maritime provinces or northeastern USA, flying nonstop over Bermuda and Barbados to northern South America. They winter mainly in the Argentine Pampas.
Most of their food consists of insects and other small animal life. In the Arctic, they make heavy use of the fruit of Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum).
The four eggs are laid in a shallow depression in lichens or soil on dry tundra, and are incubated mainly by the female for about 26-28 days.
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Where to find American Golden-Plovers in Alberta
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