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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Dotterel

Eudromias morinellus

  • Name also: Eurasian Dotterel
  • Latin synonym: Charadrius morinellus
  • Family: Plovers – Charadriidae
  • Appearance: Dotterels are short-beaked waders, found in the fells of Finnish Lapland. They are smaller and stockier than the related Golden Plover. Birds in all plumages have distinctive wide whitish or yellowish eye-stripes and a distinctive white chest band.
  • Size: Length 20–24 cm, wingspan 57–64 cm, weight 110–155 g.
  • Nest: In hollows on the high fells, made of lichen fragments and the leaves of crowberry plants etc.
  • Breeding: Lays 3–4 eggs in June. Incubated mainly by males, for 18–27 days. Young able to fly within 30 days. Fledglings leave the nest and learn to find food for themselves very soon. Females often leave incubation and the raising of fledglings to males, and seek new males for mating. Parents incubating on nests are very fearless.
  • Distribution: Breeds in dry moorland on fell tops where lichens and crowberries grow. During migration may be seen in farmland and on remote rocky islands. Finnish breeding population estimated at 1,500–3,000 pairs. Has declined steeply in recent decades.
  • Migration: Mainly by night. Flies south August–October, returning May–June. Winters in North Africa and the Middle East.
  • Diet: Invertebrates and berries.
  • Calls: Trembling “brii” similar to call of Dunlin.
  • Endangerment: Vulnerable, protected. Globally Least concern.

Dotterels are generally grey-brown in appearance. They have black caps bordered with broad white eye-stripes that meet behind their necks, and a crescent-shaped white band on their chests, below which their bellies are rust-coloured with a black patch in the middle. Their legs are yellowish, their irises are brown, and their beaks are black with a greenish base to the lower mandible. Females are more brightly coloured than males.

Young Dotterels and birds in winter plumage lack the rusty and black colouring on their bellies. The dark brown feathers on the backs of young birds have distinct yellowish brown edges, and their eye-stripes are pale yellowish-brown.

Other species from the same family

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