Dotterels are a small wader in the plover family of birds. They have brown and black streaks with broad white eye stripes and an orange-red chest band when in their breeding plumage. Take a look below for 23 more fun and interesting facts about dotterels.
1. The female Eurasian dotterel is much more colorful than the male.
2. They’re tame and unsuspecting. In fact, the term “dotterel” became to mean “old fool” in some European countries.
3. They’re a migratory species. They breed in northern Europe and Asia, then migrate south to North Africa and the Middle East in the winter.
4. It makes its nests in a bare scrape on the ground. It’s known to lay 2 to 4 eggs in the nests.
5. The male dotterel incubates and rears the chicks, while the female dotterel flies off to find another male to lay more eggs.
6. The name “dotterel” comes from 1440, when it was used to refer to the bird and also insult someone as being a “dotard.”
7. At one point, the Eurasian dotterel was seen as a delicacy. In 1534, Queen Anne Boleyn was presented with a brace of dotterels.”
8. The genus name, Charadrius, is a late Latin word for a yellowish bird that’s mentioned in the 4th century Vulgate. It comes from the Ancient Greek word, kharadrios, meaning “ravine” or a bird found in ravines.
9. The specific, morinellus, is derived from the Ancient Greek word “moros” meaning “foolish,” due to the bird’s very trusting nature.
10. The Eurasian dotterels diet is made up of insects and other small invertebrates, such as snails, worms and shellfish.
11. Rather than steady probing used by other waders, dotterels use a run and pause technique for catching their food.
12. Since they’re known for being tame and unsuspecting, it’s led to them being easy prey for illegal collecting, which has caused a considerable population decrease.
13. A group of dotterels is known as a “trip.”
14. Normally they whistle a “pweet-pweet-pweet” sound. When they’re alarmed, they utter a loud trill.
15. In terms of physical appearance, the American Golden Plovers also have dark legs and feet, they also lack pale breast bands.
16. During the summer, they’re found on Scotland’s high tops.
17. They have a very large range, which is why they’re not currently considered vulnerable.
18. The New Zealand dotterel is the largest bird of its genus.
19. From mid winter onwards, pairs of New Zealand dotterels will move to their nesting territories, which are very well defended against other pairs.
20. Nesting begins in September and goes to the end of February.
21. Male and female dotterels will try to distract potential predators away from their nest by pretending to be injured.
22. If the eggs end up being eaten by predators, the birds will re-nest, sometimes up to 2 to 3 times.
23. New Zealand dotterels feed on terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, although small fish, crabs and sandhoppers are sometimes eaten as well.