Species Identification - Birds

Sanderling- Calidris alba

Family: Sandpipers


Description: The Sanderling’s Latin name, Calidris alba, includes “alb,” meaning white, from which we get albino and albumen. The Great Egret’s Latin name also includes alba because it also is a white bird. The Sanderling is the palest of the tiny shore birds. In the fall and winter, you may see large flocks of them dashing in and out of the surge at the water’s edge snatching tiny mollusks and crustaceans. The Sanderling is only 7-8 inches long, and from a distance they look like a flock of pale little chicks running madly about.

Range: For such a tiny bird, the Sanderling travels great distances. It breeds in the Arctic, nesting in tundra, and winters on sandy beaches like Hunting Island all along the North American coasts.

Photos by Carl Berube

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