Breeds high in mountain areas with low cover and scree, often preferring partly flat areas; also on open tundra. Occurs on northerly breeding sites mostly mid Jun-mid Aug. Rare on migration, often singles or in small groups on arable or short-grass fields. Food insects. Nest is bare scrape. Male does most of incubation and care of young. Some males are extremely tame just before eggs hatch. L 20½ -24 cm.
How to Identify Eurasian Dotterel
Somewhat smaller than Golden Plover and is slightly more compact, with shorter neck and wings and proportionately larger head with smaller bill. In all plumages, has long white or ochrous-buff supercilium and plain upperwing with narrow pale leading edge (white shaft to outermost primary).
Adult summer: Combination of orange-rusty breast, black belly, narrow black and white breast-band and well-marked white supercilium contrasting with dark hindcrown makes it unmistakable; as with phalaropes, female is brighter-colored, smarter than male.
Adult female winter: Greyish breast and flanks tinged buff, with faint whitish breast-band, and upperpart feathers and wingcoverts dark (slaty-) grey with thin rufous-buff fringes.
Juvenile: Like adult winter, but upperparts and larger wingcoverts blackish-brown with neat creamy-buff fringes broken at tip by black central streak; underparts have on average more obvious dark mottling on breast and upper flanks.
1st-winter: Told by retained juvenile wing-coverts.
Eurasian Dotterel’s Voice
Flight-call on migration (often on take-off) is soft, rolling, somewhat descending ‘pyürr’. Contact-call also a repeated song-like ‘pwit’. Song by female is a simple, repeated whistling, ‘pwit pwit pwit…’, c. 2 calls per sec., delivered in flight over territory with shallow, shivering wingbeats.