Species Champions: Golden plover

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The golden plover is a small wading bird that breeds on higher moorlands and spends the winter in sizeable flocks at lowland sites on the coast or inland in river valleys or on arable land. The UK holds about 8% of the global breeding population and around a quarter of the global population in winter. The Scottish breeding population has declined by a quarter over the last 20 years. Research shows that inappropriate drainage of peatland breeding sites can make this worse. The re-wetting of breeding moors (e.g. by drain-blocking) is known to mitigate this and, where appropriate, control of generalist predators may also be beneficial to breeding success.

Action Needed

1. Support for measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Funding for re-wetting of peatland breeding habitats, eg. by drain-blocking.
3. Ensure the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy is fully implemented.

Threats

• Climate change is a significant threat, for example creating a mismatch in the annual timing of breeding and of the emergence of their chicks’ critical invertebrate prey, craneflies.
• Drainage of peat-bog breeding habitat

MSP Species Champion

Edward Mountain

Member for: Highlands and Islands

Party: Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party

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