The New Zealand Dotrell

The New Zealand dotterel is a species of shorebird found only in certain areas of New Zealand. It is also called the New Zealand plover or red-breasted dotterel, and its Māori names include tūturiwhatu, pukunui, and kūkuruatu.

New Zealand dotterel nest in open sites, typically low-lying sand or gravel banks and sandbars close to beaches and lagoons. Nests just above high tide mark are easily lost to strong storms and very high spring tides.

The birds often nest close to residential or developed areas. Their breeding habitats are at risk to development and subsequent erosion.

On the beach, nests are easily destroyed by careless feet, dogs and off-road vehicles. When adults are disturbed while incubating and leave the nest, the eggs are at risk of overheating. When young chicks are disturbed, they can die from exhaustion as they cannot eat in time, or get to their feeding grounds at the water’s edge.

Uncontrolled dogs running through nesting areas can crush eggs, disturb nesting adults, and kill chicks. Many beaches have dog restrictions and owners should be aware of these - respect and obey them.