Black-fronted Dotterel

Did you know?

The Black-fronted Dotterel is normally seen in small numbers, usually in pairs, sometime alone and rarely more than five. However in winter they can form larger groups of a hundred or more.

Calls
Sharp 'tip' call, singular or repeated three or four times.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
16cm
Maximum Size: 
18cm
Average size: 
17cm
Average weight: 
32g
Breeding season: 
September to February
Clutch Size: 
2 to 3 eggs
Incubation: 
27 days
Nestling Period: 
25 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
SA: 
TAS: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
144
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Black-fronted Dotterel is a small wader with a distinctive black face-mask and breast-band and prominent chestnut scapulars (shoulder feathers). In juveniles, the breast-band is initially absent but a brown band slowly appears as the bird develops. Legs are pink orange, and the bill is red with a black tip. The dark eye is ringed with red. In flight the wings look broad and the tail short, while the black and white contrast is striking. Flight is slow with almost hesitant wing beats. This species is also called the Black-fronted Plover.

Similar species: 

The adult and immature Black-fronted Dotterel are unmistakable, though the juvenile could be confused with the juvenile and immature Red-capped Plover.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Black-fronted Dotterel is widespread throughout Australasia.

Habitat: 

The Black-fronted Dotterel is found in the shallow margins of wetlands, lakes, rivers, sewage farms, storm drains and marshes. It is normally always near freshwater and is not often seen on the coast.

Seasonal movements: 

Breeding resident.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Black-fronted Dotterel eats small molluscs as well as aquatic and terrestrial insects. When it forages, it keeps its body horizontal while bobbing its head to look for food, often running then stopping suddenly to peck at food items.

Breeding: 

The Black-fronted Dotterel lays its eggs in a shallow scrape, often on pebbly ground and quite close to water. It may have more then one brood per year. Both parents incubate the eggs and look after the young.

Living with us

The Black-fronted Dotterel is secure in Australia, though destruction of breeding sites may affect numbers.

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