Calidris alba




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive green or brown spotted with brown and black.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 4

Incubation Days:

24 - 31

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On high, well-drained tundra.

Nest Material:

Lined with small leaves, grass, lichen, mosses, or willow leaves.





Sanderling: Medium-sized sandpiper with dark-spotted rufous upperparts and breast; white underparts. Wings have conspicuous white stripes visible in flight. Bill, legs and feet are black. Sexes are similar. Female is slightly larger and paler with a striking white wing bar. Winter adult has pale gray upperparts and head; white underparts. Juvenile has dark gray and white mottled upperparts with a nearly black shoulder patch. Head and breast are buff-white; crown and sides of breast are streaked brown.

Range and Habitat

Sanderling: Breeds in high Arctic tundra from Alaska eastward to Baffin Island and Greenland. Spends winters along coasts from the Aleutian Islands and British Columbia along the Pacific coast to Mexico, and also from Massachusetts southward to the Caribbean and southern South America. Preferred habitats include ocean beaches, sandbars, mudflats, and lake and river shorelines.

Breeding and Nesting

Sanderling: Three to four black and brown-spotted, olive green or brown eggs are laid in a ground hollow lined with grass and lichens. Incubation ranges from 24 to 31 days and is carried out by the male.

Foraging and Feeding

Sanderling: Their diet includes aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. Insects are taken at their breeding grounds. On coastal marine beaches, they catch small crustaceans and bivalve mollusks; less frequently, small polychaete worms, insects and talitrid amphipods are taken. Their sturdy bill enables probing in fairly hard ground; they can locate prey in dry sand.


Sanderling: Call is a sharp "kip," but also chatters while feeding. Flight call is soft "wick-wick"

Similar Species

Sanderling: Red-necked Stint is similar in breeding plumage, except it is smaller and has pale eyebrows.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The short feathers overlying the median secondary coverts on the top of the wing. They are located near the back and can be seen as the “first row” of feathers on the birds wing. They are also called marginal coverts and lesser secondary coverts.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X