Sub-category: Sandpipers & Allies
The dunlin is highly gregarious in winter, sometimes forming large flocks on coastal mudflats or sandy beaches. Large numbers can often be seen swirling in synchronized flight on stop-overs during migration or on their winter habitat.
An adult dunlin in breeding plumage shows the distinctive black belly which no other similar-sized wader possesses. The winter dunlin is basically grey above and white below. Juveniles are brown above with two whitish "V" shapes on the back. They usually have black marks on the flanks or belly and show a strong white wingbar in flight.
The legs and slightly decurved bill are black. There are a number of subspecies differing mainly in the extent of rufous colouration in the breeding plumage and the bill length. Bill length varies between sexes, the females having longer bills than the males.