The Eurasian dotterel (Charadrius morinellus), also known in Europe as just dotterel, is a small wader in the plover family of birds.
The dotterel is a brown and black streaked bird with a broad white eye-stripe and an orange-red chest band when in breeding plumage. The female is more colourful than the male. The bird is tame and unsuspecting and the term “dotterel” has been applied contemptuously to mean an old fool.
This plover is smaller and more compact than European golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria). It has a striking whitish supercilium in all plumages and has plain wings in flight. Adults in summer are unmistakable, with a chestnut breast bordered above with white, black belly and warm brown back. The legs are yellow, and the short bill is black. As with the phalaropes, the female is brighter than the male.
Winter birds lack the rich underpart colouration, apart from the white breast line, and are greyer above. Young birds are similar but have a scaly appearance to their backs.