Dotterel Behaviour

And Food of this Bird

Dotterel Plumage and the Bird's Name

Dotterel Behaviour and Food

Dotterel Courtship Display, Nest and Chicks

Dotterel Habitat, Breeding Areas and Migration

Get more interesting bird information and facts at The Wonder of Birds

Continued from Dotterel Plumage and the Bird's Name.

Food of the Dotterel

The food of the Dotterel consists mainly, but not exclusively, of insects. It eats creatures from mosquito size to the size of crickets, and seems to have a certain preference for hard armored kinds of beetle, like Ground beetles and Weevils. Also the larvae of Click beetles are happily consumed. In contrast, grasshoppers, butterflies or worms play no substantial role.

In some wintering areas Dotterels nourish themselves obviously mainly on different small kinds of snail. In small quantities however the Dotterel regularly eats plant-derived food in the form of seeds and berries.  Small stones have been found in the stomachs of examined birds, these being of assistance in the breaking down of food.  The food is pecked from the ground, in regular small feeding hunts by the bird, and also found on the wing in short flying hunts.

Interesting Behaviour

During the breeding searson a pair of Dotterels are strictly territorial, but outside of this time the birds live together in small informal groups, these groups often deing differentiated from each other by age or gender. In the main areas of population within the range of the polar circle, Dotterels are active during all 24 hours of the day, but individual birds spend long periods resting and tending to their plumage.  In its alpine breeding areas the active phase of the bird's day begins only about two hours after sunrise and ends roughly an one hour before the sun sets.

A certain gender based role-reversal exists with the Dotterel with respect to some behavior.  In particular in the case of aggression, some types of behaviour which are generally expected by the male are practised more intensely by the female Dotterel.  The females make aggressive displays more frequently with their tail feathers, spreading of their wings and presentation of the their chest plumage and ventral side. In rival fights it can come to body contact and small bodily injuries.

The diversionary behavior of the Dottererl is particularly interesting and pronounced. Depending upon the strength of the threat that the bird feels, the species shows very different and expressive behaviors.  At feeling a small threat, the bird turns away from the intruder, showing thereby a v-shape to the potential enemy. The next stage is marked by a remarkable performance of running away, whereby the Dotterel often limps and staggers, followed by rapid running, with one or both wings trailing half fanned out along the ground. This is accompanied by cries as f the bird is in pain or distress. If the Dotterel still cannot divert the intruder from its nest or the Chicks it may be leading, it he presents a convulsion of wings and legs and a trembling tail as if dying. Both genders show this  diversionary behavior,  with the males being more expressive.

Previous...Dotterel Plumage and the Bird's Name. Next...Dotterel Courtship Display, Nest and Chicks

Home to the Wonder of Birds

This page ©