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Bird name:


Calidris alba




Sandpipers (Scolopacidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Tundra, Arctic regions

Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Polygamous, Polyandrous

Egg Colour:

Smooth, glossy and pale greenish or olive with brown specks or spots.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 4

Incubation Days:

22 - 27

Egg Incubator:


Nest Material:

Scrape with deep cup lined with leaves and lichens.

Nest Location:

On ground often near vegetation.




Sanderling: Small, Starling-sized wader with fairly short black bill. Head, breast, and nape red-brown with black streaks and mottling. Pale grey on back and wings with pale-brown and black mottling. White belly and vent. White wing bar on black and grey wings in fast, direct flight. Sexes similar. Winter adults pale grey above with faint streaks, white below, and black legs. Spring adults like summer birds but paler. Juveniles like winter adults but with black streaks on back and crown, and black mottling on wings. Also, pale buff on head.

Range and Habitat

Sanderling: Winter and passage visitor to the UK & Ireland. Birds can be seen from autumn through spring. Winter grounds are located on most coastal areas where sandy beaches are to be found. Not commonly found at rocky beaches in Scotland and southwestern England.

Breeding and Nesting

Sanderling: Flexible mating system may vary by year or region, may depend on resources. Usually monogamous, but with serial polyandry and polygyny. Elaborate courtship displays. Females choose site, construct nest, and incubate eggs; two females may share a nest. Parents remove eggshells from nest.

Foraging and Feeding

Sanderling: An energetic wading bird, found on coastal sandy beaches, it stops frequently to pick up small food items, such as small invertebrates and crabs. Also eats some plant material when it first arrives on the arctic breeding grounds.


Sanderling: Call is a sharp "kip"; emits conversational chatter while feeding.

Similar Species

Sanderling: Dunlin is smaller, has a longer bill and is more grey-brown above with a grey breast in the winter. Knot in winter plumage has a white eyebrow and grey eyeline, paler legs, has grey breast and is larger.

The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX