DUNLIN


Calidris alpina


Description:

The Dunlin was originally called a "Dunling", which means "a small brown bird", but for unknown reasons the "g" was dropped. They feed on mollusks, crustaceans, and marine worms, using the characteristic "sewing machine" action. While nesting, insects form the main part of their diet.


Appearance:

General: 8 to 9 inches in length. Sexes similar.

Adult Alternate: Upperparts are reddish-brown with black spots. Whitish head and underparts with dark streaks and spots. Reddish-brown crown. Black belly patch. White wing patch. Fairly long black bill that droops near the tip. Black legs.

Adult Basic: Gray-brown upperparts. Pale gray-white underparts. Grayish breast with streaking. Indistinct pale supercilium. White wing patch. Fairly long black bill that droops near the tip. Black legs.

Juvenile: Similar to adult basic, except underparts are rustier looking. Head and breast have a brownish wash.


Habitat:

Beaches, mudflats, and inland lake and river shores.


Nesting:

4 olive eggs with brown blotches. The eggs have a 21-22 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 19-21 days. The nest is a grass clump on a low dry mound of dirt or rock. Breeds on the Arctic tundra.


Observed Locations:

  • Crown Point, Mission Bay
  • South Bay (7th St), Imperial Beach





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