This small wader breeds all round the Boreal regions (that is round the North Pole) with a few breeding as far South as Britain. The birds winter on the coastal mudflats as far South as the Northern tropics - it is the most common wader on British estuaries in the winter.
The bird is about the size of a Starling with chestnut streaked back and, in the summer, a black belly. Outside the breeding season they are usually found in flocks - sometimes very large. They have a shrill whistling call and a rather attractive series of trills as the song. There are many different races and the difference in size obeys Bergmann's rule so that the Southern ones are smaller and the Northern ones biggest. About 10,000 pairs breed in Britain and Ireland.
A familiar medium-sized wader over much of the Northern Hemisphere
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Dunlin (35mm Colour Slide by Roger Tidman)
Length 180 mm Closed wing 115 mm Weight 45 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead