Look for small shorebirds running back and forth in sync with the waves—these are likely to be Sanderlings. Nonbreeding adultls have gray upperparts and much less spotting below. They then burrow rapidly down again as the water retreats. The winter bird is very pale, almost white apart from a dark shoulder patch. Sanderling on the island of Amrum, Schleswig-Holstein, This article is about the bird. The breeding Red Knot has mottled gray upperparts; reddish head and underparts with light colored rear belly; dark legs, medium thin dark bill. The name derives from Old English sand-yrðling, "sand-ploughman". The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds. The breeding Stilt Sandpiper has gray-brown upperparts; heavily barred black and white upperparts; long slightly downturned black bill; white supercilium; long gray-green legs. The two at Titchwell yesterday got very close to the hide giving me my best ever views of the species. Red Knots are larger than Dunlin with a shorter and stouter bill. The Buff-breasted Sandpiper has brown upperparts; buff face and underparts; short dark bill; yelllow legs. Black border marks southern limit. They may either form monogamous pairs or polyandrous (one female and two male) pairings.. Nonbreeding adult has gray upperparts; yellow-green legs. The specific alba is Latin for "white". Learn this species, and you’ll have an aid in sorting out less common shorebirds. In the northern winter, it has a nearly cosmopolitan distribution across the world's marine coasts. Pick a beach with a low, gradual slope and walk along the water’s edge. Nonbreeding Red Knots have barring on the flanks that nonbreeding Dunlin lack. The breeding Ruddy Turnstone has plump appearance; reddish-brown upperparts with black markings; mostly white head with black pattern around eyes; white underparts with black wide necklace; reddish-orange legs. Eggs. The nonbreeding adult has gray upperpart including the head; pale gray underparts; light eye-line; yellowish-green legs. Many nonbreeders remain in South America, while fewer remain along the North American coasts. People frequently have trouble learning to identify sanderling (Calidris alba ), vs semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla ). Black belly feathers grow in as they age. In winter, flocks of dunlin can be seen flying along the coast and flashing grey or white as the bird’s man-oeuvre in unison. The bill on nonbreeding Purple Sandpipers is yellow at the base, but is solid black on Dunlins. The name derives from Old English sand-yrðling, "sand-ploughman". Rock Sandpipers also have a darker back and a shorter bicolored bill than Rock Sandpipers. The Sanderling on the right is slightly stockier, lighter plumage on head and back and a shorter bill. In flight, note dark stripe down the center of the tail and white outer tail feathers. This is the source of the specific name, alba, which is the Latin for "white". Nature School For Teachers - Fall 2020 Launch! SC037654. Their bills can penetrate only 2 or 3 cm (0.79 or 1.18 in) and as the water swirls around and retreats, the sand is softer; this makes it easier for the birds' beaks to penetrate further. Looks a bit too brown to me but the light wasn't great, nor is my camera! Stocky, medium-sized shorebird with a long, drooping bill. Birds that travel further also arrive later and leave sooner. The breeding Least Sandpiper has mottled brown upperparts; some mottling on upper breast; rest of underparts white; light colored supercilium; short straight dark bill; greenish-yellow legs. It is highly gregarious in winter, sometimes forming large flocks on coastal mudflats or sandy beaches. Sanderling or Dunlin? Long, slightly curved bill (like Dunlin) Yellow legs (like yellowlegs) BOLD WHITE SUPERCILIUM . Breeding Sanderlings are more rusty colored than nonbreeding Dunlins with a shorter bill. The nonbreeding adult has dark brown upperparts and breast; brown head with faint supercilium. Thanks as always. Chunky shorebird with a short neck and a long drooping bill. Calidris alpina (Dunlin) and Calidris alba (Sanderling) Tweet; Description: I thought this picture made good comparison of the two wading birds. A very confident sounding lady pronounced them Sanderling so I didn't think much more of it before I got home and had a look at the photos, now I'm not so sure. Willapa Bay, near Tokeland, Washington. In flight, note darker line of feathers down the center of the tail and white outer tail feathers. The breeding Baird's Sandpiper has black bill and feet; mottled brown on top; mainly white underparts; black rump. 2019 Best Wildlife Photo - Species Interactions Special. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. Similar to: Semipalmated Sandpiper. The breeding Little Stint has orange and rufous upperparts and upper breast; white underparts; short dark bill. The breeding Rock Sandpiper has rufous back with gray near the flanks; blackish belly patch; pale head with darker top; dark bill; dark legs with yellow tinge. It is a circumpolar Arctic breeder, and is a long-distance migrant, wintering south to South America, South Europe, Africa, and Australia. At first glance a Dunnock but with a speckled chest like a thrush . If its size is misjudged, a sanderling in breeding plumage can be mistaken for some varieties of stint, or a sanderling in winter plumage can be mistaken for a dunlin or red knot. Purple Sandpipers have a shorter bill than Dunlins with yellow legs. These birds are often seen flocking together. This page was last edited on 9 November 2020, at 21:19. The nonbreeding adult has gray upperparts. I thought it was that or dunlin but didn't want to mention it in case it swayed opinion. Thanks as always. While other shorebirds such as plovers and Willets may feed alongside Sanderlings on these outer beaches, this is truly the Sanderling’s domain; these plucky birds often aggressively defend their feeding territories at water’s edge from other shorebirds. The species typically chooses nesting sites on dry stony areas near wet areas, from 60 m (200 ft) above sea level to 800 m (2,600 ft). The Sanderling’s black legs blur as it runs back and forth on the beach, picking or probing for tiny prey in the wet sand left by receding waves. - Larger than Western & Least Sandpiper. Find out more about the partnership, © The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. , At breeding time sanderlings are territorial, with the male aggressively defending its territory. Olive-green to pale brown, sparsely spotted with brown and black. The breeding Pectoral Sandpiper has brown upperparts; white underparts with brown upper breast; yellowish legs; olive bill with darker tip. Breeding adults have a rusty mottled back. - A little smaller than Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, and dowitchers. The nonbreeding adult bird has gray upperparts; lighter spots on breast and flanks. Taken at Minsmere today, on the scrape. I'd have said little stint, but I invariably see them in the distance and amongst dunlin. The breeding Western Sandpiper has rufous upperparts; white underparts; spotted breast; white supercilium; medium length bill with slight droop; black legs. Sometimes female lays 2 clutches in separate nests and male incubates one set, female the other. Happy to be overruled on it though as my sightings have never been good ones. Spotted at Alabama Point East - Gulf State Park. The nonbreeding adult has gray upperparts. Spotted on Jan 24, 2019 Submitted on Feb 10, 2019. It shows a strong white wingbar in flight, and runs along the sandy beaches it prefers with a characteristic "bicycling" action of its legs, stopping frequently to pick small food items. Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can. When the tide comes in, they move into the upper layers of sand and feed on the plankton and detritus that washes over them with each wave. It can be told from other small wading birds, given good views, by its lack of a hind toe.  The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds. During the winter and its migration, it is most commonly found on coastal sandy beaches, but also occurs on tidal sand flats, mud flats and the shores of lakes and rivers. The nonbreeding adult has gray upperparts. Winters along mudflats, estuaries, marshes, flooded fields, sandy beaches, and shores of lakes and ponds.