Sanderling
(Calidris alba)

Summary

Picture of bird
© Christian Artuso
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Sanderlings breed in the mid- to high Arctic and winter across 100 degrees of latitude on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, from coastal British Columbia to southern Chile. Populations in the northeastern high Arctic migrate to European wintering grounds. Results from migration monitoring surveys suggest that the abundance of Sanderlings migrating south through North America has decreased by about 43% relative to the early 1970s. The species' preference for beaches and coastal habitats during the non-breeding season exposes it to a variety of anthropogenic threats. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.

Designations

Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Sensitive2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaModerate DecreaseMedium
 

Population estimate

Canada100,000 - 500,000 adults (includes birds breeding and migrating within Canada)
 

Distribution maps

 

Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population

CanadaHigh

Conservation and management

Sanderlings winter on temperate and tropical beaches across the Americas and are exposed to human disturbance throughout a large proportion of their range. This disturbance is known to displace wintering Sanderlings and reduce their time available for foraging (e.g., Burger and Gochfeld 1991, Pfister et al. 1992). During migration, Sanderlings rely on ideal foraging conditions at a network of interior wetlands and coastal habitats. Sanderlings face a variety of risks related to habitat loss and degradation at several key staging sites (Macwhirter et al. 2002), which may affect their future status.

 

Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Arctic Plains and MountainsArctic Plains and Mountains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Quebec Region
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Quebec Region
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon Region
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - New Brunswick
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Newfoundland and Labrador
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Nova Scotia
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves , sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Newfoundland and Labrador
Northern Pacific RainforestNorthern Pacific Rainforest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon Region
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region
Scotian ShelfScotian Shelf, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - New Brunswick
Scotian ShelfScotian Shelf, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Nova Scotia
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Ontario Region
 

References

  • Aubry, Y. and R. Cotter. 2001. Using trend information to develop the Quebec Shorebird Conservation Plan. Bird Trends 8:21-24.
  • Burger, J. and M. Gochfeld. 1991. Human activity influence and diurnal and nocturnal foraging of Sanderlings (Calidris alba). Condor 93:259-265.
  • Clark, K.E., L.J. Niles and J. Burger. 1993. Abundance and distribution of migrant shorebirds in Delaware Bay. Condor 95:694-705.
  • Macwhirter, B., P. Austin-Smith Jr. and D. Kroodsma. 2002. Sanderling (Calidris alba), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Macwhirter, B., P. Austin-Smith Jr. and D. Kroodsma. 2002. Sanderling (Calidris alba), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. (Link)
  • Morrison, R.I.G. and P. Hicklin. 2001. Recent trends in shorebird populations in the Atlantic Provinces. Bird Trends 8:16-19.
  • Myers, J.P., M. Sallaberry, E. Ortiz, G. Castro, L. M. Gordon, J. L. Maron, C. T. Schick, E. Tabilo, P. Antas and T. Below. 1990. Migration routes of New World Sanderlings (Calidris alba). Auk 107:172-180.
  • Pfister, C., B.A. Harrington and M. Levine. 1992. The impact of human disturbance on shorebirds at a migration staging area. Biological Conservation 60:115-126.