Inland Dotterel

Did you know?

Inland Dotterels are often seen at night on favoured stretches of dirt roads in the outback. They are mainly nocturnal, being generally inactive during the day and feeding at night.

Flight call is a guttural trill , 'krroot' or 'krrr', but usually quiet.
Facts and Figures
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Breeding season: 
Any time of year, influenced by rainfall.
Clutch Size: 
30 days
Conservation Status
Associated Plants
Plants associated with this species
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Inland Dotterel is a medium-sized plover with a small well-rounded head, longish legs and short fine bill. It has a black band over the crown and through the eye, and a striking black Y-shaped band on a white breast. Its head, back and wings are streaked dark brown and sandy-buff. Juveniles are duller, paler and less streaked with little or no black markings evident. Inland Dotterels gather in flocks and run to escape from danger, only taking flight at the last moment.

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Where does it live?

Inland Dotterels occur in the arid zones of mainland Australia, mainly confined to south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Their distribution is highly correlated with an annual summer rainfall of less than 100 mm.


The Inland Dotterel is unique among waders as it is most commonly found inland in open, arid country. Flat open habitats are favoured, including gibber (stony) plains, gravel flats, claypans and gilgais (depressions) with a sparse growth of saltbush, bluebush or samphire between 20 cm and 40 cm tall.

Seasonal movements: 

Movements are poorly known, but it is probably nomadic, moving locally in response to rain.

What does it do?

Inland Dotterels feed on seeds and leaves during the day and insects and spiders by night. It will use vigorous biting, pecking and pulling actions to dislodge pieces of plant.


The Inland Dotterel can breed at any time of year in response to heavy rainfall. Its nest is a shallow depression scratched in the ground or in a hoofprint, ringed with small stones, twigs and material scraped out of the depression. The Inland Dotterel is probably monogamous with pairs remaining together while breeding. In captivity, the female is known to do most of the incubation of the eggs.

Living with us

The clearing of mallee vegetation for agriculture has provided additional habitat for the Inland Dotterel.

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