The Sanderling is a small plump sandpiper, 18-20 cm (7.1-7.9 in) in length. Its weight ranges from 40-100 g . The winter bird is very pale, almost white apart from a dark shoulder patch. This is the source of the specific name, alba, which is the Latin for `white`. Later in the summer, the face and throat become brick-red. The juvenile bird is spangled black and white, and shows much more contrast than the adult. This bird can be told from other small wading birds, given good views, by its lack of a hind toe.

Habitat and Distribution

They breed in the High Arctic areas of North America, Europe and Asia. They are found in Archipelago, Nunavut, Greenland, Canadian Arctic . In Eurasia, it breeds in Spitsbergen and areas of northern Russia from the Taymyr Peninsula to the New Siberian Islands. It winters in the world's marine coasts. It is a complete migrant(3000 to 10 000km ). Their habitat is coastal tundra, in winter they occur in coastal sandy beaches, tidal sand flats, mud flats and the shores of lakes and rivers.


Sanderlings feed on invertebrate prey buried in the sand in the upper intertidal zone.


In spring, the birds arrive on the High Arctic breeding grounds (see map), where they lay 3-4 eggs in a ground scrape. On the nesting grounds, these birds mainly eat insects and some plant material. Sanderlings are territorial, with the male aggressively defending its territory.