Dunlin Calidris alpina   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Charadriiformes Family: Scolopacidae
BTO Codes: DN, DUNLI EURING No: 5120
Number in Britain: 9600 Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: 3 Concern, most not in Europe; Depleted
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: schinzii (BW), alpina (W), arctica (P) recorded in Britain (of 10 subsp. in the world)
Length: 18 cm Wingspan: 40 cm Weight: M/F: 48 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: kalidris=grey waterside bird described by Aristotle and L.: alpinus=alpine (from Alpes=the Alps)
World Distribution: BREEDS: c&n Europe, Siberia & n North America, WINTERS: south to s Asia, Africa & Mexico
Habitat: Tundra, moor, heath, on migration estuaries & coasts
Diet: Invertebrates, located by sight and touch
TitBit: Three races occur in Britain, one of which schinzii breed here, but winter in west Africa; alpina birds from western Siberia winter here, whilst small numbers of Greenland breeders (arctica) pass through in the autumn.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos BTO ID Workshop

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: No population trend available
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Summer: 9600 Pairs in
    Winter: 350 thousand individuals in 2004/05 - 2008/09
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times [Fossil evidence from Ipswichian (last) interglacial, c. 125,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: RED because Recent Non-breeding Population Decline (1969-2007),
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern: schinzii AMBER (Rare or Localised), alpina RED (International Concern), arctica GREEN
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 285 to 440 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WBD(I*), Bern(III), Bonn(II), AEWA
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 35 x 24 mm Egg Weight: 10.2 g (of which 5 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 7
Clutch Size: 4 eggs 3.71 ▒ 0.55 (2 - 4) N = 111
Incubation: 21- 22 days   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 19 - 21days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1(2)
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.740 ▒ 0.015       
Juvenile Survival: 0.740 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 2 years Typical Lifespan: 5 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 19 years 3 months 26 days (set in 2010)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: B2
Wing Length Adult: 119.2 ▒ 3.7 Range 113 - 125 mm, N =10154
Juvenile: 119.0 ▒ 3.8 113 - 125 mm, N =8049
Male: 112.2 ▒ 3.0 108 - 118 mm, N =164
Female: 115.6 ▒ 2.9 110 - 120 mm, N =138
Weight Adult: 50.01 ▒ 4.95 Range 42.00 - 58.00 g , N =9759
Juvenile: 49.33 ▒ 6.04 39.00 - 59.00 g , N =7451
Male: 47.25 ▒ 5.86 39.00 - 57.00 g , N =160
Female: 51.20 ▒ 6.16 41.60 - 62.00 g , N =137
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Gaelic: Gille-feadaig Welsh: Pibydd y Mawn
Danish: Almindelig ryle Dutch: Bonte strandloper
Finnish: Suosirri French: BÚcasseau variable
German: Alpenstrandlńufer Hungarian: Havasi partfutˇ
Icelandic: Lˇu■rŠll Irish: Breacˇg
Italian: Piovanello pancianera Norwegian: Myrsnipe
Polish: Biegus zmienny Portuguese: Pilrito-comum
Spanish: Correlimos com˙n Swedish: Kńrrsnńppa
Local Names: Plover's Page, Tang Snipe

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Nethersole-Thompson, D. & M. 1986 Waders, their breeding, haunts and watchers Poyser, London [598.6 NET]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides
All About Birds (from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)