Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Dick Daniels/Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0)

Sanderling

Sanderling
Calidris alba
Sandpiper-like Birds | Family: Sandpipers, Scolopacidae

This species more relies on the Boreal Forest region for migratory stop-over habitat than for breeding.

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Overview

One of the most widespread of all shorebirds, the Sanderling turns up on almost every beach in the world. As a wave comes roaring in, the birds run up on the beach just ahead of the breaker, then sprint after the retreating water to feed on the tiny crustaceans and mollusks left exposed.

Description

8" (20 cm). A starling-sized shorebird with conspicuous white wing stripe. Summer adults have rufous head and breast, white belly. In winter, rufous areas replaced by pale gray, and birds look almost white. Bill and legs black.

Voice

A sharp kip. Conversational chatter while feeding.

Nesting

4 olive eggs, spotted with brown, placed in a hollow on the ground lined with grasses and lichens.

Habitat

Breeds on tundra; winters on ocean beaches, sandbars, mudflats, and lake and river shores.

Range/Migration

Breeds in high Arctic tundra from Alaska eastward to Baffin Island. Winters along coasts from British Columbia and Massachusetts southward to southern South America. Also in Eurasia.