Definition of dotterel in US English:



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

    Genus Eudromias, family Charadriidae: two species, especially the Eurasian E. morinellus, which is noted for its tameness

    • ‘In May, the rare dotterel is found in small flocks, called trips.’
    • ‘On the other hand, species like the dotterel and snow bunting look set to head northwards, leaving British shores for colder climes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Home to such rare birds as the dotterel as well as a host of arctic wildlife, it is protected by European law.’
    • ‘The report highlights the plight of 20 species, including the song thrush, the corncrake, the crossbill, the capercaillie, the dotterel and black grouse.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A high-level two kilometre ridge walk traverses huge swathes of green mosses and sedge, a breeding ground for dotterel.’
    • ‘Then they objected to the wrong kind of shells being used in rebuilding some nests for dotterels.’
    • ‘The name generally applied to birds of the genus Charadrius, which also includes the dotterel.’
    • ‘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.’


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