Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Least Concern

Sanderling (Calidris alba)


French: Bécasseau sanderling German: Sanderling Spanish: Correlimos tridáctilo

Tringa alba


, 1764,

coast of North Sea


Formerly placed in monospecific genus Crocethia; has been included in Ereunetes. Often treated as monotypic, but separation of race rubida appears to be justifiable#R. There are low genetic differences, however, between birds from NE Greenland and C Siberia#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. alba (Pallas, 1764) – extreme N Canada (Ellesmere I), Greenland and Svalbard to Severnaya Zemlya Is and Taymyr Peninsula; winters on coasts of W & S Europe, Africa E across S parts of Asia to Australasia and some tropical Pacific islands.
  • C. a. rubida (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – NE Siberia (Lena Delta and New Siberian Is), Alaska (small numbers) and N Canada (except Ellesmere I); winters on coasts of E Asia and from C North America to S South America.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–21 cm; 40–110 g; wingspan 35–39 cm. Chunky, medium-sized Calidris with shortish, thickish bill; intensity of coloration variable, with head,... read more


    On the breeding grounds, calls include short nasal piping notes in loose series, a nasal descending... read more


    High Arctic barren stony tundra supporting scant vegetation with well drained ridges and sparse... read more

    Food and feeding

    On breeding grounds, insects, mainly adult and larval Diptera, occasionally beetles and Lepidoptera; also spiders and crustaceans and... read more


    Laying Jun to mid-Jul. Monogamous; occasionally polyandrous. High degree of breeding site fidelity. Solitary; density up to 13·7... read more


    Long distance migrant. Seems to be restricted to few stopover sites along flyways; highly faithful... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). North American winter population comprises probably 100,000–200,000 birds; most numerous small shorebird on beaches of South... read more

    Recommended citation

    Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Boesman, P. (2020). Sanderling (Calidris alba). 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 25 February 2020).