Sanderling/Calidris alba - Winter

Sanderling/Calidris alba - Photographer: Борис Белчев
Sanderling/Calidris alba - Photographer: Даниел Митев
Sanderling/Calidris alba - Photographer: Даниел Митев
Sanderling/Calidris alba - Photographer: Даниел Митев

L 18-21 cm. Breeds in high Arctic; seen on passage and in winter in sometimes large flocks on sandy beaches, mudflats or pools near coast; rare inland. Feeds with distinctive dashing running action ahead of breaking waves, but also more methodically on calmer, shallow shorelines or grassy areas.
IDENTIFICATION: Dunlin-sized, but more compact. Could be confused with stints owing to lively action, especially lone bird away from typical shore habitat, but note larger size, stouter bill, much broader black-bordered white wing-bar, and diagnostic lack of hind toe. In winter, appears strikingly pale among other shore waders and shows distinctive blackish wing-bend (when this is not covered by breast-side feathers). - Adult summer: In spring, head and clear-cut dark-spotted breast-band grey/rufous, and upperparts blackish and rufous with broad pale fringes; in summer, head, breast and upperparts become strongly rufous. - Adult winter: Generally plain, very pale grey above with blackish lesser coverts; wingcoverts and tertials diffusely white-fringed. - Juvenile: General pattern like juvenile stint, but whole plumage more contrastingly black and white, mantle and scapulars more spangled or spotted with white (not neat scaly pattern) and lacks white mantle- and scapular-Vs.
VOICE: Flight-call is an emphatic, slightly liquid ‘plit’.

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