Black-fronted Dotterel (species: Elseyornis melanops) in Yalgorup WA (Gaia Guide)
Elseyornis melanops
Black-fronted Dotterel

©Leo: Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops)

©Leo: Young Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops)

©Alec Brennan: Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Charadriidae
Genus Elseyornis
Species Elseyornis melanops
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

It is a small plover with somewhat noticable brown shoulder patch, especially in flight.  They are brown on their upperparts and crown of the head and have white underparts.  They have a distinctive black V across the chest. The face is white with a black eyeline and forehead.

The bill is bright red, with a black tip.  They eye ring is also red.


  • Up to 17 cm (Length of specimen)


  • Wingspan data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution: Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops)

Distribution and habitat preferences

It is widespread throughout most of Australia, to which it is native and New Zealand, where it self-introduced in the 1950s. It is common in freshwater wetlands, around the edges of lakes and billabongs, and in shallow, temporary claypan pools. It is also found occupying saline mudflats and estuaries, but rarely. (Wikipedia)


They forage in a series of short running motions, holding the body horizontal, stopping to peck from time to time with a rapid bobbing motion. Diet is mostly insects and other small creatures, supplemented by a few seeds. (Wikipedia)

Web resources


  • Simpson, K., N. Day and P. Trusler (2004). Field Guide to Birds of Australia: 7th Edition Penguin Group (Australia), Camberwell, Victoria.