Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-kneed Dotterel

Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus) by Ian 1

Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-kneed Dotterel ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 10-17-11

I’d chosen this for last week’s bird until the excitement over the Spotless Crake on Ross River pushed it into the background. Some would argue that the Red-kneed Dotterel is much more beautiful – and is also uncommon in Townsville – but it lacks the mystique of habitual lurkers like crakes that grant audiences only as a special privilege.

Red-kneed Dotterels live almost exclusively near fresh water and are rarely seen in tidal areas. The bird in the first photo was wading at sunset in the shallows of a tranquil pond near a bore at Bowra, an AWC reserve http://www.australianwildlife.org/Bowra.aspx near Cunnamulla in Southwestern Queensland. It was a lovely evening, and I was sitting in a camping chair with camera and tripod and mainly watching parrots and cockatoos coming in to drink: birding in style.
Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus) by Ian 2

Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus) by Ian

The close-up, second photo was photographed at Melbourne Water’s euphemistically called Western Treatment Plant near Werribee on the shores of Port Phillip Bay, also a famous birding spot but not as pleasant for camping as Bowra. Red-kneed Dotterels (actually red-ankled) are small plovers, length 17-19cm/7-8in, not closely related to other ones such as the Black-fronted Dotterel: both are members of monotypic genera – containing only one species. Recent DNA studies have shown that the Red-kneed shows closer affinity to Lapwings than other plovers, which a certain physical resemblance supports, allowing for small size, a lack of wattles and better manners.
Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus) by Ian 3

Red-kneed Dotterel (Erythrogonys cinctus) by Ian 3

Red-kneed Dotterels are adaptable and occur widely through the more arid regions of Australia, apart from deserts. The one in the third photo is a young bird hatched beside a small wetland near Birdsville produced by an overflow from the local geothermal power station that makes electricity from almost boiling water (98ºC) from the Great Artesian Basin http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/register/p00834aa.pdf .

Best wishes

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://www.birdway.com.au/index.php

Lee’s Addition:

What a neat little bird. I love the clean lines and especially it’s knees or ankles. Ian, you captured it well! I am at the variety of birds you have there in Australia.

The Dotterels are in the Charadriidae – Plovers Family of the Charadriiformes Order. That order has 19 families of Shorebirds and their allies. Check out Ian’s Charadriidae Family photos – Click Here.

Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. (Job 4:4 KJV)

More Ian’s Bird of the Week

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