Eurasian Dotterels

Eurasian Dotterel (Charadrius morinellus)

The Eurasian Dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) – also commonly known as simply Dotterel in Europe.

Eurasian Dotterel

Eurasian Dotterel

They have a reputation for being tame and unsuspecting, which led to this species being easy prey for illegal collection of the bird, which caused a considerable decline in its population.

Now, the Eurasian Dotterel is protected under the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA).

Distribution / Range

This species is migratory, wintering in a narrow belt across north Africa from Morocco eastwards to Iran. The winter habitat is semi-desert.

Breeding / Nesting

The Eurasian Dotterels’ breeding habitat includes the arctic tundra of northern Eurasia from Norway to eastern Siberia, as well as suitable mountain plateaus such as the Scottish highlands and the Alps.

They nest in a bare ground scrape. The average clutch consists of two to four eggs, which are incubated by the female alone.


Winter and Summer Plumage: The Eurasian Dotterel has a striking whitish supercilium (line above eye) and plain wings.The legs are yellow and the short bill black.

Summer (Breeding) Plumage only: Breeding adults have a chestnut breast bordered above with white, black abdomen and a warm brown back.

Winter (Non-Breeding) Plumage: The upper plumage is greyer. They lack the rich under plumage coloration, apart from the white chest line.

The female’s plumage is a litter brighter than the male’s.

Juvenile birds resemble the adults, but their backs have a scaly appearance..

Similar Species: The Eurasian Dotterel looks similar to the Eurasian Golden Plover. – except it is smaller and more compact.

Diet / Feeding

The Dotterels mostly feed on insects and other small invertebrates such as snails and worms and shellfish.

Call / Vocalization

Its flight call is described as a soft pyurr; the female’s song as a simple repetitive whistle.

Photo of author

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