Dunlin (Caladris alpina)
Dunlin, Musselburgh, Scotland, November 2002 - click for larger image Scotland

The Dunlin breeds around the Arctic Ocean in Europe (including the British Isles), Asia and North America but winters further south on ice-free coasts but rarely crosses the Equator.

Juvenile Dunlin with Redshank, Tynninghame, East Lothian, Scotland, October 2002 - click for larger image It is probably the most common small wader in Europe.

Its small size can be judged against the Redshank Tringa totanus seen on the right of the second photo. This bird is a juvenile showing a gingery tinge to the head and mantle and rather bold, black spots on the side of the belly.

Dunlin, Yell, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image In winter it is usually seen on broad coastal beaches, estuaries, mudflats, etc., where it forms large flocks and feeds on invertebrates found in the mud or sand where the prey is located by both sight and feel.

In the breeding season it prefers boggy ground, coastal grasslands and salt-marshes provided there is water nearby.

Dunlin, Mainland, Shetland, Scotland, June 2004 - click for larger image In winter, as in the first photo, its very drabness is distinctive with brownish-grey upperparts, a pale grey breast band and white underparts.

In summer, see photos 3 to 6, it has a distinctive black patch on the belly as well as rufous on the mantle.

Dunlin, Yell, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image During the breeding season, Dunlin signal or display by lifting one or both wings showing the whitish underwings.
Dunlin, Yell, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image
Dunlin, Ardalanish Bay, Mull, Scotland, June 2005 - click for larger image
Dunlin, Ardalanish Bay, Mull, Scotland, June 2005 - click for larger image
Dunlin, Ardalanish Bay, Mull, Scotland, June 2005 - click for larger image
Dunlin, Tyninghame, East Lothian, Scotland, October 2006 - click for larger image
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