Small, plump shorebird with droopy bill. Breeding plumage is distinctive with rufous or brown back and black belly. In fall and winter, plain grayish-brown above with white belly. Often in large flocks on mudflats and beaches, sometimes mixing with other shorebirds. Breeds on Arctic tundra; winters on coastlines throughout the Northern Hemisphere; typically less common inland. A late migrant, especially in fall; lingers longer at higher latitudes than most other small shorebirds. Very similar to Curlew Sandpiper in nonbreeding plumage, but Dunlin is more compact, shorter-winged and shorter-legged, and darker. Droopy bill might recall Western Sandpiper, but Dunlin is larger and darker. Also compare with Purple Sandpiper, which is even darker and more spotted and has orange legs. Listen for loud, slightly buzzy “dzeer!” calls.
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