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Dunlin - Calidris alpina

Kingdom: Animalia    Phylum: Chordata    Class: Aves (Birds)    Order: Charadriiformes    Family: Scolopacidae

Calidris alpina
Dunlin (Calidris alpina) - image © Rajiv Lather

Dunlin (Calidris alpina) is a sparse winter visitor in India. Nesting areas are generally in coastal tundra grasslands. Usually four eggs are laid during June in a cup-shaped hollow that is lined with grasses and leaves. Incubation duties are shared by both sexes in most cases, but sometimes the male alone may incubate the eggs. Eggs hatch after 21 or 22 days, and young leave the nest almost immediately. The young feed themselves, but are guarded by both parents until they are able to fly after about 25 days. In some cases, the male's role may become more important as the young grow, and the female may leave before the young are independent.

This shorebird feeds on a variety of invertebrates, including bivalves, amphipods, annelids, and insect larvae.

Description: Length: 20-23 cm. All plumages: Bill slightly down-curved; legs and feet black. Adults in summer: Back and crown predominantly rich red-brown, marked with black streaks; breast, neck and face gray, streaked with white; throat white; large black patch on abdomen. Adults in autumn: Soft uniform gray above, suffusing across breast; remainder white; light eyebrow line; occasionally fall adults retain a few of the red feathers of summer on their backs and some individuals show traces of the black abdominal patch.

Remarks: This stocky, short-legged bird shows a strong preference for sandy beaches with their adjacent mudflats, where it feeds during receding tides. It is generally seen in small flocks. When the Dunlin is seen in autumn, its long, slightly down-curved bill is its best field mark; in breeding plumage, the black abdominal patch and the reddish brown upperparts are unmistakable.

Anseriformes Apodiformes Bucerotiformes Caprimulgiformes Charadriiformes Ciconiiformes Columbiformes Coraciiformes Cuculiformes
Falconiformes Galliformes Gaviiformes Gruiformes Passeriformes Pelecaniformes Phoenicopteriformes Piciformes Podicipediformes
Procellariiformes Psittaciformes Pteroclidiformes  Strigiformes  Trogoniformes Turniciformes Upupiformes

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