Sanderling

Calidris alba
Sanderling

The sanderling is a small stocky sandpiper. It is light gray on its back and white on its undersides. It has a distinctive black patch at the bend of its wing and its legs and bill are black. It has a distinctive white wing stripe when it is in flight. Sanderlings are uncommon, but regular migrants in the Marshall Islands. On Wake Atoll, there have been 7 individual records of sanderlings from 1963 through 2007. On several occasions during the 2010/2011 PRC monitoring surveys, 1-3 sanderlings were observed foraging in the mudflats at the southern end of the lagoon near the wetlands on several occasions

The nonbreeding range is in temperate and tropical beaches of North and South America. A majority of birds winter in Central and South America. Nesting habitat is in the high-arctic tundra, particularly the Canadian Arctic archipelago, Greenland, and Siberia.

The breeding season for the sanderling is from July through August in the high arctic tundra. The male will sing while flying overhead of a potential mate. Once on the ground he will ruffle his feathers with his head back on his shoulders to show off to the female! Once paired with a female, the nest must be made. Nests are constructed in the ground with mosses and lichens to cradle two to four eggs. These eggs have cryptic coloring and are beige or green-brown speckled. The camouflage colors will help protect the eggs from predators. Once these chicks hatch, it is time to eat. Like many shorebirds, the young are precocial and can feed themselves soon after hatching. Moreover, these chicks are able to fly as soon as 17 days after hatching.

Facts About Sanderling

Diet
In Alaska, they eat flies, seeds, algae and other insects. Here, they feed on mollusks and other invertebrates. 
Life Span
7 years
Size
Length: 18-20 cm (7.1-7.9 in); wingspan: 35 cm (13.8 in)