Male Dotterel


Scientific name: Charadrius morinellus

Did you know: The Dotterel is known for its role reversal in parenting, where the colourful female leaves the male to incubate the eggs and rear the chicks!

What Do Dotterels Look Like? (how to identify them)

Dotterels are small, plump waders, boasting a distinctive appearance. In breeding plumage, they display a palette of brown and black streaks, a striking white eye stripe, and a vibrant orange-red chest band. 

Their compact build and lively colours make them a delightful sight in their natural habitats.

Differences Between Male And Female Dotterels

In a delightful twist of nature, female Dotterels are more colourful than their male counterparts. The females flaunt richer, more vibrant hues, especially noticeable in their breeding plumage.

What Do Dotterels Eat?

Dotterels have a diet consisting mainly of insects and other invertebrates like snails and worms. They exhibit a unique foraging behaviour, running and pausing rhythmically to catch their prey rather than the steady probing typical of other waders.

Where Do Dotterels Live? (inc. migration info)

The Dotterel, a migratory bird, breeds in the Arctic tundra of Northern Europe and migrates to North Africa and the Middle East during winter. Their nesting sites are simple ground scrapes, where the devoted male incubates the eggs and rears the chicks.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Dotterels)

Dotterels communicate with a soft ‘pyurr’ call in flight. The female’s song during breeding season is a simple, repetitive whistle, adding a melodic touch to their rugged habitats.

Fun Dotterel Facts (kid friendly)

  • Dotterels are experts in ‘role reversal’, with the colourful females taking the lead in courtship.
  • They are surprisingly trusting, making them easy to approach in the wild.
  • Dotterels have a third eyelid that helps them see underwater – like natural goggles!
  • These birds were once a royal delicacy, even served to Queen Anne Boleyn in the 16th century.
  • Dotterels are known for their ‘trips’ during migration – a term for their small migrating groups.
  • They can be found in the beautiful, yet harsh, landscapes of the Scottish Highlands.
  • Despite their declining numbers, Dotterels remain a symbol of the wild and untouched corners of nature.

Facts About The Dotterel

Diet: Insects and worms/
Bird Family: Plovers
Length: 20-22cm
Wingspan: 57-64cm
Weight: 90-145g
Scientific Name: Charadrius morinellus

The Dotterel Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

Dotterel Images

Male Dotterel Male
Female Dotterel Female
image coming soon Submit Image
image coming soon Submit Image
image coming soon Submit Image
image coming soon Submit Image
image coming soon Submit Image