Sanderling | Calidris alba

Roberts Birding Information: The Sanderling

The Sanderling is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Scolopacidae bird family group which includes birds such as Snipes, Godwits, Curlews, Whimbrels, Shanks, Stints, Sandpipers, Ruff, Turnstones, Phalaropes.

The description for the Sanderling (Latin name Calidris alba) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Calidris alba can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 281 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 364. You will find a picture of the Sanderling on page 369.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Sanderling between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Sanderling is known in Afrikaans as Drietoonstrandloper.

The Sanderling has a height of 21 cms and weighs around 55 gms. The head is coloured chestnut while the bill is coloured black. The Calidris alba has a white coloured throat, black legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is chestnut.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is black.

Legs are black.

Throat is white.

Back is black.

Sanderling Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Sanderling Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Sanderling is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

You can see the Sanderling bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.