Definition of dotterel in English:



  • 1A small plover with a brown streaked back and a chestnut or buff belly with black below, breeding in mountainous areas and in the tundra.

    • ‘Shore bird numbers are declining, he says, particularly among oystercatchers, red-capped dotterels and beach thick-knees.’
    • ‘Overgrazing on upland pastures is causing the decline of native species including skylarks, curlews and dotterels.’
    • ‘A high-level two kilometre ridge walk traverses huge swathes of green mosses and sedge, a breeding ground for dotterel.’
    • ‘The report highlights the plight of 20 species, including the song thrush, the corncrake, the crossbill, the capercaillie, the dotterel and black grouse.’
    • ‘Then they objected to the wrong kind of shells being used in rebuilding some nests for dotterels.’
    • ‘Head eastwards across the grassy plateau to Ben Tirran, keeping an eye out for the birds that inhabit Scotland's high moorlands - curlew, ptarmigan, skylarks singing as they rise and, if you're lucky, the shy dotterel.’
    • ‘Home to such rare birds as the dotterel as well as a host of arctic wildlife, it is protected by European law.’
    • ‘Cairngorm, an ancient home to rare birds like eagles, dotterels and ptarmigan, is a world-class mountain that has rightly attracted a welter of international conservation designations.’
    • ‘On the other hand, species like the dotterel and snow bunting look set to head northwards, leaving British shores for colder climes.’
    • ‘In May, the rare dotterel is found in small flocks, called trips.’
    • ‘The mountain, home to rare birds such as the dotterel and a host of precious arctic wildlife, is one of Britain's most ecologically important mountains.’
    • ‘The birds' arrival locally each spring was eagerly awaited… they were netted wholesale, an operation simplified by the fact that all those years ago the dotterels visited the same fields annually.’
    • ‘Scottish Natural Heritage, the government's conservation agency, has pointed out that Scotland's mountain birds, like the dotterel and the ptarmigan, are also vulnerable to climate change.’
    • ‘The name generally applied to birds of the genus Charadrius, which also includes the dotterel.’
    1. 1.1Australian, NZ [with modifier]Any small plover, especially one of the genus Charadrius.
      • ‘I saw three dotterels the other weekend.’
      • ‘We used video cameras to monitor nests of the banded dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus), to test whether conventional nest monitoring increased the chances of nests being visited by predators.’
      • ‘He told me with great delight that two dotterels and their chick were further up the beach.’
      • ‘The decline of the New Zealand dotterel is due to several factors, but in particular, introduced predators such as cats, stoats and ferrets.’


Middle English: from dote (so named because it is easily caught) + -rel. Compare with dodo.