Shore Dotterel (Thinornis novaeseelandiae)

Shore Dotterel

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Charadriidae | [latin] Thinornis novaeseelandiae | [UK] Shore Dotterel | [FR] Pluvier de Nouvelle-Zelande | [DE] Chatham-Regenpfeifer | [ES] Chorlitejo de las Chatham | [NL] Nieuwzeelandse Plevier


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Elseyornis novaeseelandiae
Thinornis novaeseelandiae AU Chatham Islands

Physical charateristics

Stocky plover. Adult male, black forehead, sides of face, throat, collar. Brown in female. White ring above forehead, around back of head. Grey-brown crown, back of head, upper body. White underparts. Orange-red bill with black tip. Orange legs. Juvenile, white head, neck. Brown-grey cap, eye-patch. Brown bill with orange base. Voice Usual call kleet, adults call rapidly like oystercatchers when aggressive

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 19 cm size max.: 22 cm
incubation min.: 27 days incubation max.: 29 days
fledging min.: 31 days fledging max.: 63 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


Australasia : Chatham Islands. Mangere Island (with vagrants to Pitt Island) in the Chatham Islands, New Zealand. A small population on Western Reef, Chatham Islands declined following discovery, when 21 individuals were known


On South East Island, it nests at the head of rock wave-platforms, on salt meadows and on sandy and boulder beaches


It lays two to three eggs in a nest set under dense vegetation, beach rack or boulders, either on the shore or further inland. On South East Island, where the population is at carrying capacity, breeding usually begins in the second or third year. Breeding has occurred in the first year at reintroduction sites and in captivity, where resources are less limiting.

Feeding habits

It feeds on small crustaceans, molluscs and invertebrates


This species is classified as Endangered because it has an extremely small population. Translocated populations may not be sustainable. If habitat loss continues on its last island stronghold, and proves significant, it may require uplisting to Critically Endangered. However, recent data suggest the population is now increasing and additional sub-populations are becoming established.
Cats and brown rat Rattus norvegicus probably caused its extinction from the South Island. The removal of sheep from South East Island in 1961 has resulted in some loss of breeding habitat on the southern coast as previously grazed marsh-turf has reverted to forest. Other threats include fire, expansion of fur seal Arctocephalus forsteri colonies, disease, large seas and storms and predation by Brown Skua Catharacta skua. Losses from translocated populations have largely been the result of dispersal to the mainland (where they are killed by predators, although some birds have survived for several years before vanishing) and predation by Morepork Ninox novaeseelandiae and Australasian harrier was recorded on Motuora Island. The threat of mammalian predator reinvasion to offshore islands is a constant threat requiring vigilant contingency measures. Mustelid (stoat, weasel or ferret) arrival on any shore plover islands would have devastating results.
Shore Dotterel status Endangered


Sedentary throughout very small range

Distribution map

Shore Dotterel distribution range map

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