Golden Plovers in the highlands

Golden Plover chick in the highlands in the middle of August

By now the Golden Plovers have started gathering for their annual migration flight over the Atlantic to their winter grounds. When it gets colder here, even as late as November, they head south, many to the British Isles but also to Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and North Africa.

Heiðlóa – Golden Plover – Pluvialis apricaria

It is estimated that a little less than half of the total Golden Plover population in the world breed in Iceland. They are migrators that arrive early in April and leave late in the autumn. They can be seen all over the country, from the seaside into the highlands. Their favourite habitat is in dry heathland  where vegetation is rather scarce.

Golden Plover adolescent

With rising temperatures conditions in the highlands are getting better for the Golden Plover, as well as some other birds that have until a few years ago preferred the lowlands. The breeding population in Iceland counts around 300,000 pairs.