Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Least Concern

Dunlin (Calidris alpina)


French: Bécasseau variable German: Alpenstrandläufer Spanish: Correlimos común
Other common names: Hudsonian Dunlin (hudsonia), Short-billed Dunlin (schinzii)

Tringa alpina


, 1758,



Formerly placed in genus Erolia; has been included in Ereunetes. Subspecies name actites is a replacement for litoralis, as latter preoccupied. During recent years 5–13 races have been recognized, but validity of some obscure: centralis sometimes included in nominate, hudsonia in pacifica, and pacifica sometimes synonymized with either sakhalina or arcticola. Complete study of this complex of taxa required#R. Ten subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. arctica (Schiøler, 1922) – NE Greenland and, apparently this subspecies#R#R, Svalbard; winters mainly in NW Africa.
  • C. a. schinzii (C. L. Brehm & Schilling, 1822) – SE Greenland and Iceland through Faeroes and N British Is to Baltic and S Scandinavia; winters in S Europe and NW Africa.
  • C. a. alpina (Linnaeus, 1758) – N Scandinavia and N Russia E to Taymyr region and R Yenisey; winters from W Europe and Mediterranean to NW India (and sparsely E to Bihar).
  • C. a. centralis (Buturlin, 1932) – NE Siberia from Taymyr Peninsula to Kolyma Delta; winters E Mediterranean and Red Sea E to S Asia.
  • C. a. sakhalina (Vieillot, 1816) – R Kolyma to Chukotskiy Peninsula and Anadyrland; winters in E China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan, and perhaps in small numbers in W North America.
  • C. a. actites Nechaev & Tomkovich, 1988 – N Sakhalin I; winters probably in E Asia#R.
  • C. a. kistchinski Tomkovich, 1986 – N Sea of Okhotsk and Koryak Mts through Kamchatka to N Kuril Is; winters in E Asia#R.
  • C. a. arcticola (Todd, 1953) – NW Alaska (N of Seward Peninsula) and NW Canada; winters in E China, Korea and Japan.
  • C. a. pacifica (Coues, 1861) – SW Alaska (S of Seward Peninsula); winters in W USA and W Mexico.
  • C. a. hudsonia (Todd, 1953) – C Canada from S Victoria I to SW Hudson Bay; winters on coasts of E USA and probably E Mexico.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–22 cm; 33–85 g; wingspan 33–40 cm. Smallish, short-necked sandpiper with hunched posture; rufous upperparts, black belly; longish bill noticeably... read more


    On the breeding grounds, display call consists of several drawn-out burry notes followed by a long... read more


    Utilizes wide variety of breeding habitats, primarily on moist, boggy ground, interspersed with... read more

    Food and feeding

    During breeding, diet includes insects, primarily adults and larvae of Diptera, craneflies, beetles, caddisflies, wasps, sawflies and... read more


    Lays Jun to early Jul in Arctic, late Apr to May in S. Monogamous. Solitary; locally up to 100 pairs/km², more often 3–30 birds/... read more


    Migratory. Variety of migration strategies, from short coastal flights to long, non-stop flights... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population of arctica estimated at 15,000 birds (1989); schinzii 821,000 birds (1989), virtually all breeding... read more

    Recommended citation

    Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Dunlin (Calidris alpina). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 February 2020).