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Eurasian Dotterel

Image of a Eurasian Dotterel

Charadrius morinellus

It is typical bird of the arctic tundra and of northern Europe plateaus and is surely one of the most characterizing fauna species within Majella National Park. The small reproductive unit, which was found out in the mid '50s, reproduced, even if in an irregular way, until the mid '80s on the higher plateaus of Majella massif, creating one of the most southern and numerous groups (with a maximum of 10 couples) among those known in south Europe. The last spotting was made during the reproduction period and dates back to '90s; during the last ten years, the Park Authority has been deeply monitoring the dotterel, both in its historical reproductive sites and in all the other areas that are potentially suitable for its reproduction, pointing the attention to the fact that a small group nesting there is now extinct. As it is a migrant species, the disappearance of individuals reproducing in a determined area, especially at the margins of the distribution area, can determine the loss of historical memory of a reproductive site, making the recolonization of that area very difficult.

The Eurasian dotterel has a lot of familiarity with man, so it is extremely vulnerable to hunting pressure, in particular in its wintering sites.

The migratory pattern of the Eurasian dotterel is characterized by a spring migration without stops during the journey towards the wintering sites of north Africa and Middle East and towards the main reproduction areas in northern Europe. That is the cause for the extremely low number of Eurasian dotterels observed in central and southern Europe during the spring migration, compared with the groups present during the autumn. A proof of this is the presence of relatively numerous groups of Eurasian dotterels from August to October (even if the species doesn't currently reproduces within the Park's territory), stopping there to eat crickets and earthworms on Majella massif as well as on the top of the surrounding peaks, from Mount Morrone to Pizzalto and Rotella Mounts.

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