Calidris alba   (Pallas,  1764) (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: pbase

Size: 19-20 cm; Length 19-21 cm.

Color: Pale grey above, white below; grey patch on either side of breast; black shoulder; white bar in spread wing; rump white with grey centre stripe and greyish tail; shows partial breeding plumage of rufous above mottles darker. Bare parts: iris brown; bill black, stout; feet and legs black, no hind toe.

Voice: Shrill wick-wick.

Habits: Forages in mixed flocks with other small waders, runs swiftly with water line to pick up the titbits the way may cast ashore.

Sexes alike. Non-breeding (winter): Face whitish, upperparts pale grey with blackish shoulder patch, under parts white, bill and legs black. Breeding (summer): Sides of head, breast and upperparts rufous mottled with black, underparts pure white. Juvenile: Chequered black-and-white above and whitish below. In flight, the broad white wing-bar is a pointer.

Breeding season: It breeds from June to mid-July in solitary pairs. Nest- he nest is a shallow depression on the bare earth of stony well-drained ridges, gentle slope or level alluvial plains. Eggs- Females lay 4 greenish, brown spotted eggs, usually at intervals of about 1 per day. They begin to incubate when all eggs are laid. Incubation usually lasts 23 to 27 days but, if incubation is delayed, it may take up to 32 days.

Lifespan/Longevity: The longest recorded lifespan in a sanderling was 13 years.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Sanderling (English)
• Thirakkada (Malayalam)
• Dariai lagotho, Dariyayi khichdiyo (Gujrati)
• Moondru viral ullan, Manal ullan (Tamil)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Ecosystem balance
(Sanderlings are important predators of marine crustaceans in the intertidal zone. They are found in association with a wide variety of other shorebirds in foraging flocks in winter and migration, including dunlins (Calidris alpina), red knots (Calidris canutus), black-bellied plovers (Pluvialis squatarola), willets (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus), dowitchers (Limnodromus), ruddy turnstones (Arenaria interpres), semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla), western sandpipers (Calidris mauri), two-banded plovers (Charadrius falklandicus), and white-rumped sandpipers. There is competition among these birds for food items, and larger shorebirds, such as Franklin's gulls (Larus pipixcan) and gray gulls (Larus modestus), will steal prey from sanderlings.

Sanderlings are parasitized by several nematode species that they get by eating aquatic crustaceans.)
Importance:  Commercial
(Sanderlings are interesting members of arctic, temperate, and tropical coastal habitats. Historically they were considered a game species and were hunted for market. Arctic natives collected eggs to eat.)
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(The species is sensitive to disturbance on beaches (e.g. from recreational activities and free-running dogs), also this species is threatened by the degradation and loss of wetland habitats through environmental pollution, reduced river flows and human disturbance.)
Threats:  Natural threats
(This species is susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus.)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Sandy, Muddy, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Carnivorous-tiny crustaceans, molluscs and other small animals.
Predator:  Known Predators parasitic jaegers (Stercorarius parasiticus) long-tailed jaegers (Stercorarius longicaudus) glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) snowy owls (Nyctea scandiaca) wolves (Canis lupus) arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) merlins (Falco columbarius) peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) cinereous harriers (Circus cinerea) burowing owls (Athene cunicularia) short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) Sechuran foxes (Lycalopex sechurae) laughing gulls (Larus atricilla) house rats (Rattus rattus) domestic cats (Felis catus)
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh (Lat: 22.6) (Long: 69.5) INDIA
• Orissa, Mahanadi Estuary (Lat: 20.32) (Long: 86.75) INDIA
• Goa, Morjim beach INDIA (Record: 28/10/1982)
• Goa, Agarwaddo marshes INDIA
• Goa, Chapora estuary INDIA
• Goa, Miramar beach INDIA
• Goa, Divar INDIA
• Goa, Chorao INDIA
• Goa, Velsao beach INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Point Calimere (Lat: 10.3) (Long: 79.85) INDIA
• Orissa, Bhitarkanika INDIA
• Arunachal Pradesh, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • (2001) Sanctuary Asia natural history species: Species checklist: Birds Sanctuary Asia Sanctuary Magazine Available at -
  • Tikader, BK (1984) Birds of Andaman and Nicobar Island ZSI, Kolkata 1-167 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Zoological Survey of India (Eds.) (1998) Fauna Of Mahanadi estuary, Orissa Estuarine ecosystem series no 3 ZSI, Kolkata 1-218 Available at - ZSI, Pune
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Available at -
  • Subba Rao, NV and Sastry, DRK (2005) Fauna of Marine National Park, Gulf of Kuchchh (Gujarat) ZSI 79 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Myers, P; Espinosa, R; Parr, CS; Jones, T; Hammond, GS and Dewey, TA (2006) Animal diversity web Available at -
  • Myers, P; Espinosa, R; Parr, CS; Jones, T; Hammond, GS and Dewey, TA (2006) Animal diversity web Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Lainer, H (2004) Birds of Goa : A reference book The Goa Foundation, Goa 244 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Connecticut Ornithological Association Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • (1997) Coastal marine environment of Gujarat 178pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Nameer, PO (2005) Wetlands and waterfowl conservation in kerala with special reference to Ramsar sites kerala environment congress 2005 Centre for environment and development 97-112 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Sivaperuman C and Jayson EA (2000) Birds of Kol wetland, Thrissur, Kerala Zoo's print journal 15(10) 344-349pp Available at -
  • Balachandran, S (2006) The decline in wader populations along the east coast of India with special reference to Point Calimere, south-east India. Waterbirds around the world. Eds. G.C. Boere, C.A. Galbraith & D.A. Stroud The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, UK. 296-301pp Available at -
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at -
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at -
  • Lal Mohan RS (1986) Birds and Bird Catchers Of Ramanathapuram Coast Available at -
  • Nayak, A.K. (2006) Status of migratory shorebirds at Bhitarkanika and Chilika wetlands on the east coast of India Waterbirds around the world. Eds. G.C. Boere, C.A. Galbraith & D.A. Stroud The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, UK 305-307pp Available at -
  • Rao VV, Anjaneyulu M, Nagulu V, Srinivasulu C and Satyanarayana D (2004) Water fowl Status at Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh EPTRI - ENVIS Newsletter 10(4) 7-12pp Available at -,%20No.4,%202004.pdf
  • Ali S and Ripley SD (1969) Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan Oxford university press 2 1-337pp Available at - NIO
  • PBase Available at -

Page last updated on:2013-02-06

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