Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide

In winter the Dunlin is mostly grey-brown in colour with a long tapered black bill which is slightly curved bill.


Calidris alpina
Waders Menu
The Dunlin's breeding song is unmistakable and it can often be seen hovering in the air high above the nesting site making it's charismatic trilling. In winter the Dunlin can form large flocks, sometimes into the thousands, making a spectacle as the fly over estuaries in synchronised 'clouds'.
Order: Charadriiformes

Family: Scolopacidae

Genus:  Calidris

Species: C. alpina
Not the black underside on this bird, which is very distinctive in flight. The black speckling on the neck is particularly prominent from a distance.
Dunlin can form large flocks in winter, note the white underside of these birds in flight and the white wing bar.
The Dunlin in summer has a rich chestnut back with a bold black underside, the neck is speckled black.
Thanks to: (Modified)
Adult Male & Female (Winter)
Thanks to: (Modified)
This wonderful image shows Dunlin in winter plumage roosting, note the white eye stripe which appears particularly prominent on these birds. Also note the long slightly curved bills.
Adult Male, and Female (Summer)
Breeding distribution
Probably breeding
Probably breeding
Confirmed to be breeding in this area
Confirmed breeding sites
Breeding distribution of Dunlin
General distribution:
In the summer time the Dunlin breeds on the Northern tundra of Europe. In the UK it's main breeding area is Scotland although there are some in the South. In winter time it can be found right around the UK coast.
Usually nests on wet moorland and pasture. In the winter it can be found on a variety of different types of coastline but mainly open muddy estuaries.
Dunlin in winter plumage identification
*Long slightly curved bill
*Dull grey streaked breast
White underside
*Short black legs
Flock of Dunlin flying in winter plumage
Roosting Dunlin in winter plumage
Dunlin in summer plumage identification
*Long slightly curved bill
*Short black legs
*Black underside
Black streaked breast
Dunlin in winter plumage flying
Dull grey-brown head and back
Flying Dunlin in summer plumage
Rich chestnut head and back
Dunlin in summer plumage feeding
Thanks to: (Modified)
Several shots of Dunlin, all in winter plumage.
* Donates key ID points
* Donates key ID points
Thanks to: (Modified)