Eurasian dotterel

The Eurasian dotterel (Charadrius morinellus), also known in Europe as just dotterel, is a small wader in the plover family of birds.

The dotterel is a brown and black streaked bird with a broad white eye-stripe and an orange-red chest band when in breeding plumage. The female is more colourful than the male. The bird is tame and unsuspecting and the term "dotterel" has been applied contemptuously to mean an old fool.

The Eurasian dotterel is a migratory species, breeding in northern Europe and Asia and migrating south to north Africa and the Middle East in the winter. It nests in a bare scrape on the ground and lays two to four eggs. The male does the incubation and rears the chicks, the female having gone off to find another male and lay another clutch of eggs. It is a common bird with a wide range and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated it as being of "least concern".

Eurasian dotterel
Charadrius morinellus male
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Charadriidae
Genus: Charadrius
C. morinellus
Binomial name
Charadrius morinellus
EudromiasMorinellusIUCNver2018 2
Range of C. morinellus

     Breeding     Passage      Non-breeding


The English name dates from 1440 when it was used to refer to the bird and also as an insult for someone considered simple or a dotard. It is not clear which use is the oldest,[2] but the link is its tame and unsuspecting nature which made it easy to catch; its Scottish Gaelic name is amadan-mòintich, "fool of the moors."[3] King James VI and I went every year to Royston, Hertfordshire to shoot dotterels.[4] It was also easy prey for illegal poaching, which depleted its stocks. They were also prized as a delicacy: in 1534 Queen Anne Boleyn was presented with "a brace of dotterels".

The genus name Charadrius is a Late Latin word for a yellowish bird mentioned in the fourth-century Vulgate. It derives from Ancient Greek kharadrios a bird found in ravines and river valleys (kharadra, "ravine"). The specific morinellus is Ancient Greek derived from moros "foolish", due to the bird's trusting nature.[5]


This plover is smaller and more compact than European golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria). It has a striking whitish supercilium in all plumages and has plain wings in flight. Adults in summer are unmistakable, with a chestnut breast bordered above with white, black belly and warm brown back. The legs are yellow, and the short bill is black. As with the phalaropes, the female is brighter than the male.

Winter birds lack the rich underpart colouration, apart from the white breast line, and are greyer above. Young birds are similar but have a scaly appearance to their backs.

Distribution and habitat

It breeds in the Arctic tundra of northern Eurasia, from Norway to eastern Siberia, and on suitable mountain plateaus such as the Scottish highlands and the Alps. This species is migratory, wintering in a narrow belt across north Africa from Morocco eastwards to Iran. Migration stopovers are traditional, and small parties (trips) of dotterels pass through each year at these usually inland arable or grassy sites. The winter habitat is semi-desert.

Behaviour and ecology

The dotterel's diet is made up of insects and other small invertebrates such as snails and worms and shellfish. These are obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing used by other waders.

The flight call is a soft pyurr. The female's song is a simple repetitive whistle.

The male dotterel generally is responsible for incubation and looks after the chicks. In most cases the cock dotterel successfully prevents other males from getting his mate and fertilizing her eggs. He usually rears chicks that he has fathered and only 4.6% (2/44) of chicks were not the genetic offspring of the caring male, corresponding to 9.1% (2/22) broods affected.[6]


It is a relatively common species with a wide range. Populations seem to be declining slowly but not alarmingly so, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated it as a "least-concern species". A survey published in 2015 showed a fall in dotterel numbers in Scotland between 1987 and 2011, from 980 to 423 breeding males - representing a decline of 57%.[7] The Eurasian dotterel is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Charadrius morinellus male with chicks

Male with chicks

Juvenile Dotterel at Leasowe


Female Dotterel with chick - only 4th record ever

Female with chick - only 4th record ever

Charadrius morinellus clutch


Dotterel from the Crossley ID Guide Britain and Ireland

ID composite

Charadrius morinellus MHNT

Egg – MHNT


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Eudromias morinellus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Dotterel". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Armstrong, Robert Archibald (1825). "A Gaelic Dictionary in Two Parts. To which is Prefixed a New Gaelic Grammar".
  4. ^ Quinlan, Ray (2003). The Greater Ridgeway. Milnthorpe, Cumbria, UK: Cicerone Press Limited. p. 189. ISBN 978-1-85284-346-5.
  5. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 99, 260. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  6. ^ Owens, Ian P.F.; Dixon, Andrew; Burke, Terry; Thompson, Des B.A. (1995). "Strategic paternity assurance in the sex-role reversed Eurasian dotterel (Charadrius morinellus): behavioral and genetic evidence". Behavioral Ecology. 6: 14–21. doi:10.1093/beheco/6.1.14.
  7. ^ "Changes in the abundance and distribution of a montane specialist bird". Bird Study. Retrieved 28 October 2015.

Further reading

  • Hayman, Peter; Marchant, John; Prater, Tony (1991). Shorebirds: An Identification Guide to the Waders of the World. ISBN 978-0-7099-2034-2.
  • Tsherbakov, B.V. "Breeding Dotterels Charadrius morinellus in the Altai mountains of Kazakhstan" (PDF). International Wader Studies. 10: 342–344. It is not only the males which incubate clutches and rear the chicks: on 24 June 1971, a female was collected from a nest with eggs.

External links

A' Bhuidheanach Bheag

A' Bhuidheanach Bheag is a Scottish mountain situated on the eastern side of the Pass of Drumochter, some 24 km WNW of Blair Atholl. The mountain straddles the border between Highland and Perth and Kinross council areas although the actual summit is in the latter.

Biological ornament

A biological ornament is a characteristic of an animal that appears to serve a decorative function rather than a utilitarian function. Many are secondary sexual characteristics, and others appear on young birds during the period when they are dependent on being fed by their parents. Ornaments are used in displays to attract mates, which may lead to the evolutionary process known as sexual selection. An animal may shake, lengthen, or spread out its ornament in order to get the attention of the opposite sex, which will in turn choose the most attractive one with which to mate. Ornaments are most often observed in males and choosing an extravagantly ornamented male benefits females because the genes that produce the ornament will be passed on to her offspring, increasing their own reproductive fitness. As Ronald Fisher noted, the male offspring will inherit the ornament while the female offspring will inherit the preference for said ornament, which can lead to a positive feedback loop known as a Fisherian runaway. These structures serve as cues to animal sexual behaviour, that is, they are sensory signals that affect mating responses. Therefore, ornamental traits are often selected by mate choice.


Charadrius is a genus of plovers, a group of wading birds. The genus name Charadrius is a Late Latin word for a yellowish bird mentioned in the fourth-century Vulgate. The name derives from Ancient Greek kharadrios, a bird found in river valleys (from kharadra, "ravine"). Some believed that seeing it cured jaundice.They are found throughout the world.

Many Charadrius species are characterised by breast bands or collars. These can be (in the adult) complete bands (ringed, semipalmated, little ringed, long-billed), double or triple bands (killdeer, three-banded, Forbes', two-banded, double-banded) or partial collars (Kentish, piping, snowy, Malaysian, Javan, red-capped, puna).

They have relatively short bills and feed mainly on insects, worms or other invertebrates, depending on habitat, which are obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups. They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as do longer-billed waders like snipe.

Species of the genus Aegialites (or Aegialitis) are now subsumed within Charadrius.

Dotterel (1817 ship)

Dotterel was a brig launched at Coringa in 1817. A report from Coringa dated 22 September 1817 stated that a heavy gale had occurred on the 18th and that the next day the brig Dotterel, from Bengal, had arrived at the Roads flying a flag of distress. She had shipped a heavy sea and immediately went down. A report dated Calcutta November 1818 reported the arrival at Bengal of the brig Dotterel from Masulipatnam, without her mainmast. The report stated that she had earlier been reported lost in "Coreland Roads".Dotterel was wrecked in 1827 in the Tamar River at Launceston, Van Diemen's Land, soon after leaving the river on 18 March 1827. One crewman drowned. She was under the command of Captain Charles Bell and was carrying a cargo of wheat and wool to Sydney. She gave her name to Dotterel Reef (41°3′S 146°47′E) and the nearby Dotterel Point (41°3′S 146°47′E). Some of her gear and fittings were recovered. The wreck was burned to recover her iron work. The cutter Speedwell, Captain James Corlette, then took the ironwork to Launceston.

Dotterel (disambiguation)

Dotterel may refer to several species within the plover family of wading birds Charadriidae. In Europe, the unqualified name generally refers to the Eurasian dotterel (Charadrius morinellus).

Other species whose common name includes dotterel are:

Black-fronted dotterel (Elseyornis melanops)

Hooded dotterel (Thinornis cucullatus)

Inland dotterel (Peltohyas australis)

Red-kneed dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus)

Shore dotterel (Thinornis novaeseelandiae)

Tawny-throated dotterel (Oreopholus ruficollis)

Fauna of Finland

This is a list of the fauna of Finland. Finland borders Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, and Norway to the north, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland, allowing an ecological mix. Finland contains many species of mammals, birds, and fish, but only a few reptiles and amphibians. This article discusses all the vertebrate animals which can be found on Finland itself, not the oceans.

HMS Doterel (1808)

HMS Doterel (or Dotterel), was an 18-gun Cruizer-class brig-sloop of the British Royal Navy. Launched on 6 October 1808, she saw action in the Napoleonic Wars and in the War of 1812. In February 1809 she took part in the Battle of Les Sables-d'Olonne, then in April the Battle of Basque Roads. She was laid up in 1827 at Bermuda, but not broken up until 1855.

Inland dotterel

The inland dotterel (Peltohyas australis) is an endemic shorebird of the arid Australian interior. It forms loose flocks in sparsely vegetated gibber plain and claypans in the day where it loafs in the shade and eats shoots of shrubs. It is most often encountered at night when it forages on roads for insects. The relative remoteness of its habitat means that it is not well studied. The most detailed observations of the species were made by the South African arid-zone ornithology specialist Gordon Maclean in the 1970s. Alternate English names include Australian plover, inland plover, desert plover and prairie plover.

John Callion

John Cragg Callion is an award-winning British ornithologist. His 25-year study of the European stonechat and his findings on the Eurasian dotterel have revealed much previously unknown information about both species.

Les Landes

Les Landes is an area of coastal heathland in the north-west of Jersey. It has been designated as a Site of Special Interest (SSI) since 1996.The site is the largest of its kind in Jersey at 160 ha.

List of birds of Aleutian Islands

This list of birds of the Aleutian Islands is a comprehensive listing of all bird species known from the Aleutian Islands, as documented by Gibson and Byrd (2007) and eBird.The known avifauna of the Aleutian Islands total 304 species as of late July 2019. Of that number, 44 (15%) are year-round residents and breeders, 27 (9%) migrate to the Aleutians to breed, 18 (6%) migrate to the Aleutians to winter, 6 (2%) are non-breeding summer residents, 37 (12%) are annual through-migrants, and the remaining 172 (56%) are vagrants of less-than-annual occurrence. Several of the vagrants have only a single record.

This list is presented in the taxonomic sequence of the Check-list of North and Middle American Birds, 7th edition through the 60th Supplement, published by the American Ornithological Society (AOS). Common and scientific names are also those of the Check-list.

The following terms used to denote the annual and seasonal status of each species are from Gibson and Byrd (2007):

Accidental – one or two records

Casual – recorded in <30% of years in the appropriate season, but in at least three calendar years

Intermittent – recorded in ≥30% of years in the appropriate season, but not annually

Migrant – annual through-migrant in spring or fall

Resident – substantial numbers present throughout the year

Summer – migrates to the Aleutians to breed or to summer offshore

Winter – migrates to the Aleutians to winter

Annual breeders are designated with an asterisk (*), as in Resident* or Summer*.

List of birds of Greece

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Greece. The avifauna of Greece include a total of 453 species according to the Hellenic Rarities Committee of the Hellenic Ornithological Society (Ελληνική Ορνιθολογική Εταιρεία). Of them, four have not been recorded since 1950 and two have been introduced by humans.This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (English and scientific names) are those of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2018 edition.The following tags have been used to highlight several categories of occurrence. Species without tags are regularly occurring residents, migrants, or seasonal visitors which have been recorded since 1 January 1950.

(*) Rare in Greece; reports of these 120 species require submission to the Hellenic Rarities Committee for inclusion in the official record.

(B) Species which have not occurred in Greece since 1 January 1950.

(C) Species that do not occur naturally in Greece, although breeding populations have been introduced by humans.

List of birds of Italy

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Italy. The avifauna of Italy included a total of 557 species recorded in the wild by early 2018. Of these species, 166 are accidental, 13 have been introduced by humans, and one has been extirpated.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2018 edition.The following tags have been used to highlight some categories of occurrence. The notes of population status, such as "endangered", apply to the worldwide population, not that only in Italy.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Italy

(I) Introduced - a species introduced by humans directly or indirectly to Italy

List of birds of Kyrgyzstan

376 bird species have occurred in the Kyrgyz Republic.

List of birds of North America (Charadriiformes)

The birds listed below all belong to the biological order Charadriiformes, and are native to North America.

Padjelanta National Park

Padjelanta (Swedish: Padjelanta nationalpark) is a national park in Norrbotten County in northern Sweden. Established in 1963, it is the largest national park in Sweden with an area of 1,984 km2 (766 sq mi), and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Laponia established in 1996.


A phalarope is any of three living species of slender-necked shorebirds in the genus Phalaropus of the bird family Scolopacidae.

Phalaropes are close relatives of the shanks and tattlers, the Actitis and Terek sandpipers, and also of the turnstones and calidrids. They are especially notable for two things: their unusual nesting behavior, and their unique feeding technique.

Two species, the red phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius, called grey phalarope in Europe) and red-necked phalarope (P. lobatus) breed around the Arctic Circle and winter on tropical oceans. Wilson's phalarope (P. tricolor) breeds in western North America and migrates to South America. All are 6–10 in (15–25 cm) in length, with lobed toes and a straight, slender bill. Predominantly grey and white in winter, their plumage develops reddish markings in summer.


Plovers ( or ) are a widely distributed group of wading birds belonging to the subfamily Charadriinae.


Ånnsjön is a lake in Åre Municipality in Jämtland County, Sweden. By road it is located 154 kilometres (96 mi) northwest of Östersund.

The lake and surrounding wetlands are rich in fish, water birds and other wildlife. There are remains of human habitation in the region since the stone age,

including petroglyphs that are among the oldest in Sweden. In the late 19th century there were attempts to drain the wetlands for use in agriculture and forestry, but this is now being reversed. The lake and surroundings is a protected Natura 2000 area, and attracts many birdwatchers.

Birds (class: Aves)
Fossil birds
Human interaction


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