Eurasian Dotterel

Dotterel in the breeding grounds (Photo: Christian Hoefs)

In this project we aim to gather detailed information on breeding ecology and distribution of the Eurasian Dotterel in the Swedish mountain tundra from 2018 and subsequent years. This work will form the foundation for a movement ecology study where we aim to use geolocators (lightloggers) or even solar powered GPS data logging, once suitable transmitters are available to study movement patterns of this arctic wader species. The final goal is to unravel the long-distance migration strategy as well as movement patterns in the remarkable breeding strategy of the Dotterel. Sex roles are reversed where males are thought to do most of the incubating whereas females are polyandrous and are suspected to move on to find new mates after laying their first clutch.

We started a survey and colour-ringing project in Ammarnäs in 2018, since little is known about site faithfulness and occupancy. With the gained new knowledge of this alpine specialist we hope to contribute to the conservation of this species living in a vulnerable breeding habitat.

In the kick-off season 2018 we have made the first dedicated observation effort of Dotterel  in their breeding grounds and managed to find nine nests. We have colour-ringed 13 adults and 12 chicks so far (9 males/1 female on the nest as well as three females with mistnets). The adults received a yellow flag on the upper left position combined with three colour-rings as shown below. Chicks get a yellow flag on the left tibia without further colour-rings not to bother them too much in their first days. If we find them back at the appropriate age for ringing, they will get a full colour combination.