SANDERLING

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

The Sanderling is a small wading shorebird that breeds in the high Arctic, and spends the winter around the world. On its long migration it will visit PEI beaches in the fall, when it is especially common, and can be found on the shores with the semipalmated plover and the semipalmated sandpiper.

The sanderling is feeding on invertebrates (crustaceans) that it picks in the wet sand. It runs up and down the beaches, following the movement of the waves.

One way to differentiate it from the semipalmated sandpiper is from the dark color it displays, aside from the white parts – in the sanderling the legs and bill are black and the back and wings are mottled with dark grey, whereas for the semipalmated sandpiper the dark color is brown. Those are the fall colors though.

One photo below shows four such sanderlings sleeping on one leg, with one eye open, likely using USWS (unihemispheric slow-wave sleep) as a convenient safety technique. It was a day without wind that allowed them to rest so near the water,

Sanderling - Brander's Pond, PEI - Sept. 2016, by Marie Smith
Sanderling – Brander’s Pond, PEI – Sept. 2016, by Marie Smith
Sanderling - Grayton State Park, FL - Mar. 25, 2018 - photo by Roberta Palmer
Sanderling – Grayton State Park, FL – Mar. 25, 2018 – Roberta Palmer
Sanderlings - Cousin's Shore, PEI - Oct. 20, 2017 - © Chris Rice
Sanderlings – Cousin’s Shore, PEI – Oct. 20, 2017 – Chris Rice
Four sanderlings sleeping with one eye open - Brackley Beach, PEI - Oct.12, 2015 - © Denise Motard
Four sanderlings sleeping with one eye open – Brackley Beach, PEI – Oct.12, 2015 – © Denise Motard

Running up and down the beach to catch invertebrates while avoiding the waves:

BACK TO THE TOP