Eurasian Dotterel breeds in a zone reaching from Northern Scandinavia all the way to Siberia. During breeding season, the species occur also on the Alps and on the Scottish moors. For nesting, the Eurasian Dotterel will accept the crowberry and lichen heathlands on the tops of fells, so in Finland you will meet the species only in Fell Lapland. The southernmost pairs breed in the Saariselkä, Ylläs and Värriö areas. The breeding population in Finland is estimated to be 500 – 3 000 pairs. The distribution range for Eurasian Dotterel, like that of many other fell bird species, has retracted in the past decades, and in Finland, the number of pairs has declined. Global warming has been proposed as one possible reason for the decline. In the most recent Finnish conservation status assessment, the Eurasian Dotterel is classified as vulnerable.
The bird moves on the ground scurrying and then stopping. The incubating birds are often fearless and can even let people touch them. Sometimes the mother bird performs broken wing behaviour to distract a predator away from the nest or hatchlings. The sex roles of the Eurasian Dotterel are reversed: the male will rear the chicks instead of the female. The plumage of the female is also more colourful. A female Eurasian Dotterel may also pair with several males. The species overwinters in Northern Africa and the Middle East.
Text: Jukka Jokimäki & Marja-Liisa Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki
Read more about Eurasian Dotterel:
Flying Arctic -frontpage.