Mid-sized wader bird (approx 20 cm or 8 in). Summer plumage with a rufous back spotted in black and white. White belly with wide black spot. Head and neck with grey and black spots on white background. In winter they lose the rufous colour and the back and head become uniform grey, the belly turns white and the chest and neck turn grey and striated. Black legs and bill, slightly downturned.
Where it lives
Wetlands and inland humid meadows, marshes, lagoons and swamps during the breeding period. In winter, coasts and lagoons with muddy shores and large intertidal zones.
How it lives
Wintering species in the province and also present in migratory passage. The Dunlin breeds between the Arctic and the tundra. Nest on the ground. One laying of 3 to 4 eggs. It feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, worms and insects. Very sociable and gregarious, frequent on the shores pecking the silt. This wader usually rests on just one leg and with the head in a manner so that the bill is backwards.
Where it can be seen in Malaga
Frequent and abundant bird that can be seen all along the Coastal Path, on the shore of the beach. Also present in the mouth of the Guadalhorce river and the Fuente de Piedra and Campillos lagoons.
The Spanish name for these birds (“correlimos”, which means “silt runner”) was probably given due to their behaviour. They go to the shore to look in the silt when the water is withdrawn and run away when the wave or the tide returns. Unlike plovers, if they have to flee or are disturbed they always fly towards the interior of the sea.