43. Dunlin

The dunlin is one of our smaller waders. Waders are a large family of birds, most of which live on or near the shore. For these birds, life is literally a beach! But it is no easy life, as shores are very exposed habitats that afford very little shelter from weather and predators. To escape attention, waders are often cryptic in colour, and the Dunlin (M: Pispisella tad-Dabra) is typical. Small and with few colours to speak of - especially in winter (see photo) - they skulk around on sandy or muddy shores looking for food. Dunlins have a typical wader bill - long, thin and tapering, very useful for probing in the wet mud for worms and other invertebrates. We see dunlins on migration, and a scatter of them often turns up in places like Ghadira and Salina, to spend a few days in the relative safety of these sites - both sites are bird sanctuaries. Dunlins are also a protected species.

Text by Victor Falzon
Photo by Denis Cachia

Copyright to Birdlife Malta.

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