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Sanderling

From Opus

Summer adult malePhoto: bobsofpaFort Myers Beach, Florida, May 2015
Summer adult male
Photo: bobsofpa
Fort Myers Beach, Florida, May 2015
Calidris alba

Contents

[edit] Identification

Adult moulting into summer plumage; probably femalePhoto Dave HuttonFarmoor Reservior, Oxfordshire, England, May 2007
Adult moulting into summer plumage; probably female
Photo Dave Hutton
Farmoor Reservior, Oxfordshire, England, May 2007

Length 20-21 cm, wingspan 35-39 cm, weight 41-102 g.
A relatively small wader with a straight, stubby, black bill. The legs are black and of medium length, and uniquely among Calidris species, lacking a hind toe; typically runs very fast on sandy beaches at the edge of the waves, roosts in tight flocks on beaches or rocky outcrops just above the high water mark.

Underparts always pure white. Summer plumage with brick-red to orange-tinged grey head and upper breast; mantle spangled orange, black and silver. Males tend to be brighter orange and females paler, more silvery. Winter adults plain silvery grey, with blackish primaries and a dark carpal ("shoulder") patch. Juveniles spangled with black and silver to pale yellow-buff above. In flight, strong white wingbar more conspicuous than in any other Calidris species.

[edit] Confusion species

Summer adults can be confused with summer adult Red-necked Stint and Little Stint; Sanderling differs in being significantly larger, and in close views, by lacking a hind toe. The behaviour, fast running on sandy shores, is also usually distinct, though vagrant Sanderlings in muddy habitats can behave more stint-like.

[edit] Distribution

Breeds in the far-northern Holarctic (concentrations in Canada, Greenland and Siberia); non-breeding range is on coasts worldwide (for example, a bird breeding in Greenland may winter anywhere from northern Europe to South Africa). A migrant (spring and autumn) and winter visitor to Britain. Rarely seen any distance inland.

[edit] Taxonomy

Winter adultPhoto: bobsofpaFort Myers Beach, Florida, February 2015
Winter adult
Photo: bobsofpa
Fort Myers Beach, Florida, February 2015

Treated by some authorities as monotypic[1], while others authorities[2][3] recognise two subspecies:

  • Calidris alba alba - breeds northeastern Canada, Greenland, Svalbard, and northern Siberia
  • Calidris alba rubida - breeds north-central Canada and northern Alaska

The two subspecies are very similar, distinguished only by small differences in morphometrics[2]

[edit] Habitat

Nesting habitat is rocky tundra, while coasts and especially sandy beaches are used the rest of the year.

[edit] Behaviour

JuvenilePhoto MahslebMinsmere, England, September 2014
Juvenile
Photo Mahsleb
Minsmere, England, September 2014

Forages in flocks on beaches, usually in moist sand. The diet includes crustaceans, small marine worms, insects, fish and molluscs.

Three or four eggs are laid in a ground scrape. Some females lay one clutch which is then attended by both parents; others lay one clutch which they leave for the male to attend and shortly after a second clutch which is only attended by the female.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist.
  2. Engelmoer, M., & Roselaar, C. S. (1998). Geographical Variation in Waders. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht. ISBN 9780792350200.
  3. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2015. IOC World Bird Names (version 5.3). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
  4. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533
  5. RSPB
  6. Sinclair, I and P Ryan. 2003. Birds of Africa South of the Sahara. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691118154
  7. The Sanderling study group homepage

[edit] External Links


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