Calidris alba


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Calidris alba
Species Authority: (Pallas, 1764)
Common Name(s):
English Sanderling
French Bécasseau sanderling

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Afghanistan; Algeria; American Samoa (American Samoa); Angola (Angola); Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Aruba; Australia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Azerbaijan; Bahamas; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belarus; Belgium; Belize; Benin; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Sint Eustatius); Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brazil; British Indian Ocean Territory; Brunei Darussalam; Bulgaria; Burundi; Cameroon; Canada; Cape Verde; Cayman Islands; Central African Republic; Chad; Chile; China; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Colombia; Comoros; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cuba; Curaçao; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Faroe Islands; Fiji; Finland; France; French Guiana; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Greece; Greenland; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guam; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Hong Kong; Hungary; Iceland; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Jamaica; Japan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kiribati; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Liberia; Libya; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mali; Malta; Marshall Islands; Martinique; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mayotte; Mexico; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Montenegro; Montserrat; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Netherlands; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Northern Mariana Islands; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Qatar; Réunion; Romania; Russian Federation; Rwanda; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia (Serbia); Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Slovakia; Slovenia; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Suriname; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Togo; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Turks and Caicos Islands; Tuvalu; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States (Georgia); United States Minor Outlying Islands; Uruguay; Uzbekistan; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Viet Nam; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Western Sahara; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Armenia (Armenia); French Polynesia; French Southern Territories; Gibraltar; Jordan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Lebanon; Liechtenstein; Luxembourg; Mongolia; Niger; Sao Tomé and Principe; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Swaziland
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number c.620,000-700,000 individuals (Wetlands International, 2006), while national population estimates include: c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in China; c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Korea; c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-10,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
For further information about this species, see 22693369_calidris_alba.pdf.
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Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is a full long-distance migrant that travels mainly via offshore and coastal routes using a number of favoured stopover sites (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds from June to mid-July in solitary pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1996), departing the breeding grounds between mid-July and early-September (Hayman et al. 1986). The species usually occurs in small flocks on migration (Johnsgard 1981) although it may aggregate into larger flocks at stopover sites (Hayman et al. 1986), and in winter it forages in small to very large flocks (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding The species breeds in the high Arctic on barren, stony tundra with well-drained ridges (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996), gentle slopes or level alluvial plains supporting scattered vegetation of willow Salix spp., Dryas spp. and saxifrage Saxifraga spp. usually less than 200 m above sea-level (Johnsgard 1981). Non-breeding On passage the species may occur on inland freshwater or saline lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1996) but it is largely coastal during the winter, inhabiting open sandy beaches exposed to the sea, the outer reaches of estuaries, rocky and muddy shores, mudflats (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and coral reefs (Urban et al. 1986). Diet Breeding When breeding the species takes insects (especially adult and larval Diptera, Coleoptera and Lepidoptera) as well as spiders and crustaceans (del Hoyo et al. 1996). On arrival on the breeding grounds the species may also complement its diet with plant matter (e.g. seeds, saxifrage buds, moss and algae) (del Hoyo et al. 1996) before invertebrate prey becomes available (Johnsgard 1981). Non-breeding During the winter its diet consists of small molluscs, crustaceans, polychaete worms and adult, larval and pupal insects (e.g. Diptera, Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Hemiptera and Hymenoptera), as well as occasionally fish and carrion (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow depression on the bare earth (del Hoyo et al. 1996) of stony well-drained ridges, gentle slope or level alluvial plains (Johnsgard 1981).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is sensitive to disturbance on beaches (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. from recreational activities and free-running dogs (Thomas et al. 2003)), and is susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus (Melville and Shortridge 2006). In the Chinese, North Korean and South Korean regions of the Yellow Sea (East Asian flyway route) this species is threatened by the degradation and loss of wetland habitats through environmental pollution, reduced river flows and human disturbance (Kelin and Qiang 2006).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Calidris alba. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
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