Dunlin

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Image:Dunlin.jpg

Common Name: Dunlin
Scientific Name: Calidris alpina

Size: 8 ½ inches (21.6 cm)

Habitat: Northern Hemisphere; fully migratory circumpolar breeder in Arctic or subarctic regions. Birds that breed in northern Europe and Asia are long-distance migrants, wintering south to Africa and Southeast Asia. Birds that breed in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic migrate short distances to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America, although those nesting in Northern Alaska overwinter in Asia.

In the breeding season this species frequents moist boggy ground interspersed with surface water, such as tussock tundra and peat-hummock tundra in the arctic, as well as wet coastal grasslands, salt marshes and wet upland moorland. In the non-breeding season this species mainly prefer estuarine mudflats, but also frequent a wide variety of freshwater and brackish wetlands, both coastal and inland, including lagoons, muddy freshwater shores, tidal rivers, flooded fields, sewage farms, salt-works, sandy coasts, lakes and dams. For roosting during high tides and at night this species prefers large fields of naturally fertilized short pasture or soil-based crops with few vertical structures that could be used by predators.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: 4,600,000-6,500,000. This species is significantly threatened by the loss of its breeding habitat though afforestation of moorland. It may also suffer from nest predation by introduced mammals (e.g. European hedgehog Erinaceus europeaus) on some islands. Baltic Sea coastline adjacent to the Kaliningrad region of Russia are threatened by petroleum pollution, wetland drainage for irrigation, peat-extraction, reedbed mowing and burning, and abandonment and changing land management practices leading to scrub and reed overgrowth. The Dunlin is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Diet: Mostly adult and larval insects (dipteran flies, beetles, caddisflies, wasps, sawflies and mayflies), and also spiders, mites, earthworms, snails, slugs and plant matter (usually seeds).

Nesting: Juveniles are brown above with two whitish "V" shapes on the back. They usually have black marks on the flanks or belly and show a strong white wingbar in flight.

Its nest is a scrape or shallow depression in the ground, concealed in vegetation and sometimes in a tuft or tussock (and thus raised slightly off the ground). Typically four eggs are laid and incubated by the male and female parents. Chicks are precocial, however are brooded during early development. They start to fly at approximately three weeks of age. The majority of brood care is provided by the male, as the female deserts the brood and often leaves the breeding area.

Cool Facts: The species breeds dispersed or aggregated in loose colonies, and travels in group sizes of up to 1,500 on passage, remaining in large groups (up to hundreds of thousands of birds) throughout the non-breeding season.

The species is active both diurnally and nocturnally


Found in Songbird ReMix Shorebirds Volume 3: Small Waders

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