About the Dunlin
Also known as: Red-backed Sandpiper

The Dunlin is a medium-sized sandpiper known for its dramatic seasonal changes in appearance. During the breeding season, adults sport a striking black belly patch which starkly contrasts with their rust-colored back and bright rufous head. In winter, they molt to a drab gray plumage, blending seamlessly with their coastal environments.

Dunlins are highly migratory, with a range that spans arctic and subarctic regions during breeding and extends to almost all temperate and tropical coastal shorelines during the winter. They are commonly observed along mudflats, estuaries, and beaches, where they probe the wet sand for invertebrates. Their diet primarily consists of small crustaceans and mollusks.

These birds are also noted for their agility in flight, often seen flying in tight, coordinated flocks that twist and turn in unison. This behavior is crucial for avoiding predators and is a mesmerizing sight for birdwatchers. Despite their small size, Dunlins are hardy and capable of enduring long migratory journeys across continents.

Details & Statistics

International Names

Birdorable Dunlin

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T-Shirt Tuesday: Birdorable Dunlin

This week's feature t-shirt design is our Birdorable Dunlin, a medium-sized sandpiper that lives across much of the northern hemisphere. They are common shorebirds for many birders around the world. Like many other wading birds, they display different plumage in breeding season versus winter. Our...  Read more »