Sanderling (Calidris alba)

Pairs of sanderlings have a unique way of maximizing the number of offspring they produce: the female lays two separate clutches of eggs, and she incubates and looks after one family while her mate raises the other!


Sanderlings breed in the Arctic Islands, reaching north to the tip of Ellesmere Island, and in a few isolated locations on the mainland along the Arctic coast. They are, however, absent from Baffin Island and from a few small islands to the west of Ellesmere Island. These birds are have a circumpolar distribution, breeding throughout the north polar regions, with different populations wintering all over the globe, from New England to South Africa and Australia. Some Canadian sanderlings winter along the Atlantic coasts of North America, from Nova Scotia south to Mexico. Other individuals of this species are long-distance migrants, wintering as far south as Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

For a complete species account, visit the Arctic section.