Art. XXII.—Observations on the Breeding Habits of the Eastern Golden Plover (Charadrius fulvus).
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 31st October, 1883.]
This interesting bird is dismissed by our leading naturalists with so few words that one is induced to think that little is known as to its habits, and that a few remarks on them from personal observation may not be uninteresting. Unlike others of the Charadriadæ, the Golden Plover's plumage undergoes little or no change from summer to winter; its habits of flight and feeding are however very similar to those of C. obscurus as described by Dr. Buller; its food is of the same kind, and it likewise resembles that bird in the construction of its nest and the locality chosen for making it. On the 9th of January last a Golden Plover was found sitting on three eggs at the northern end of Portland Island. The nest is a very simple affair, composed of a little grass laid in a slight hollow amongst the driftwood a few yards above high water mark; the egg is large for the bird, being about the size of a pullet's, ovoid, a good deal pointed, in colour of a light greenish yellow with irregular blotches of dark rufous brown, almost black in the larger spots, and varying in size from a pin's head to a shilling, the largest being at the more obtuse end of the egg. When disturbed the bird rose with a harsh rattling cry, but did not seem frightened, and returned to the nest after a few minutes. On the 10th the nest was not visited, it being thought best not to disturb the bird again so soon; and on the 11th, on going to it for a specimen egg, the nest was found deserted and the eggs gone, not a particle of shell remaining.