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What am I?

The commonest small wader found along the coast.

The dunlin has a slightly down-curved bill and a distinctive black belly patch in breeding plumage.

It feeds in flocks in winter, sometimes numbering thousands, roosting on nearby fields, saltmarshes and the shore when the tide is high.

How to spot them

The dunlin is unmistakeable in its summer plumage: adults are brick-red above, with a black belly patch. In its winter plumage, the dunlin is grey above and white underneath, looking very much like the sanderling. It is a little smaller, however, and has a longer, down-curved bill.

Where to see them

A common winter visitor to our coasts.

Conservation status

The dunlin is amber listed in the UK (Opens in a new window) .

Did you know?

The common name, dunlin, comes from this birds’ habit of nesting in upland moors and bogs: ‘dun’ is an old Gaelic word for hill and ‘linne’ means pool or pond.