Wild Birds

Double-banded Plovers, known as the Banded Dotterels

The Double-banded Plovers (Charadrius bicinctus), known as the Banded Dotterel in New Zealand, is a small (18 cm) wader in the Plover family of birds. It lives in beaches, mud flats, grasslands, and on bare ground.

Two subspecies are recognized:

  • the nominate Charadrius bicinctus bicinctus breeding in New Zealand and the Chatham Islands; and
  • Charadrius bicinctus exilis breeding in the Auckland Islands.

Adults in breeding plumage are white, with a dark greyish brown back, and have a distinctive brown breast, with a thinner band of black below the neck, and between the eyes and beak.

Younger birds have no bands and are often speckled brown on top, with fewer white parts.

They are fairly widespread in the south of New Zealand, but not often seen in the north.

The nominate subspecies is partly migratory, breeding in New Zealand and the Chatham Islands and some wintering in Australia, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Fiji, with others staying in New Zealand.

The Auckland Islands subspecies is sedentary but some birds move from their territories to the shore.

Their eggs are grey, speckled with black, making them well camouflaged against river stones and pebbles, which make up the main structure of their very simple nest.


  • BirdLife International (2004). . 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 09 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Stephen Marchant (Editor), P. J. Higgins (Editor) (1994) Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds: Volume 2: Raptors to Lapwings. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0195530698

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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