Continued from Dotterel Behaviour and Food.
Dotterel Courtship Display
The gender role-reversal of the Dotterel also becomes
particularly noticeable in the courtship display of this species.
The generation of breeding pairs starts with an unpartnered group, within
which the females are the more active members. High breeding populations
appear to be already loosely paired in the breeding area however. The female
tries to draw the attention of a male on herself by aligning, flashing
and ducking. If no reaction of a male takes place, the female returns to
the main group. Small arguments around a male can occur between the females.
The group, consisting usually of less than 10 individuals, often changes
its location; also the group members are variable. If a male and female
pair up, they separate from the group and begin to occupy a territorial
area of their own, which is energetically defended by both birds. This
partnership frequently exists up to the hatching of the chicks. In addition,
the females can supply further males with full clutches of eggs during
the incubation of the first clutch of eggs, this being known as Polyandry.
Dotterel Nest and Chicks
The nest location is usually a somewhat raised, dry
and even place. Good all-round visibility and short vegetation are a priority.
The nests are only slight hollows; a few are laid out it with plant material
from the direct environment. In alpine nests lichen is mainly used as nest
A full clutch usually consists of three relatively
large eggs, which are on average 42 millimeters × 28 mm. They
are a soily-brown to olive green colour, and exhibit a dark-brown to black
flecking. Within approximately 36 hours after the laying of
the last egg, the male is the only one of the pair to incubate them intensively.
The female is however frequently in the proximity of the nest, remaining
in contact with the male and taking part in the protection of the eggs
The chicks are led away from the nest by the male
very soon after hatching. This is often a very strenuous task
for the chick who last hatched, and can lead to losses of the younger
birds. The distance of travel on the first day after the last hatching
is usually about 50 meters. On the third day the family group can
have already departed from the nest's location by a distance of over 700
meters and some 100 meters in elevation. Beginning at this time the male
also drives out the female from the proximity of the chicks. The
period that the family stays together amounts to about 30 days, after which
the group dissolves.