What to look out for
A member of the plover family, the dotterel breed in the uplands. Unusually females are more brightly coloured than the males and it is the males who rear the chicks. Upper parts are predominantly grey in adult birds, the breast is a rich chestnut, while the large white “eyebrow” is distinctive. The horizontal white chest “halter” is distinctive, throughout the year. Has a brief undulating piping call. Not to be confused with the similar shaped golden and grey plovers.
In summer this bird breeds on the high plateaus in the Highlands and is seen in spring and autumn passage in Fife and East Lothian on pastureland or stubble and in new growing crops.
This bird is confined to a specific habitat and is vulnerable to disturbance by hill walkers. Dogs should be kept under close control when on high tops during spring and summer.
Studies indicate that, after they have laid their first clutch of eggs and have left the male to rear them, females will seek and pair up with other males to produce subsequent clutches. This increases their own productivity which is quite an unusual strategy for a female bird in this climate.