The Dotterels are another group of small Plovers but with no very strongly marked characters. The word itself is a diminutive of Dott, a bird that was so called from its alleged stupidity, and there is a very ancient tradition or fable that the common European Dotterel (Eudromias morinellus) when approached by the fowler stretched out a wing or leg as the former reached out an arm or leg, the bird becoming so interested in the imitation that it neglected its own safety and was taken in the net. This no doubt arose from the fact that the bird, which is of a very tame and confiding disposition, has the habit of stretching out a wing and leg before it moves off. It is a handsome, richly colored little bird about nine inches long, the upper parts being ash-brown, many of the feathers margined with rufous, the crown black, with a white band extending from the eye round the nape, while the throat is white, the upper breast ashy, succeeded by a white band on the lower throat, and the breast and flanks bright chestnut, and the abdomen black. Curiously enough the female is larger and more brightly colored than the male. This species is a native of northern Europe and northern Asia, breeding mainly on the cold tundras above the limit of trees, and spending the winter in the Mediterranean countries and northern Africa. It was formerly abundant in the British Islands and a few may still nest in the Lake District, but it is now mainly a migrant there. It frequents especially the bare mountain sides and is one of the tamest of the Plovers.
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