Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Frank Howe
Photo Copyright Frank Howe

The sanderling, Calidris alba, is an uncommon transient in Utah, appearing during migration between Arctic breeding grounds and wintering areas on temperate coasts. Occasionally, small numbers may remain in Utah for the winter.

Nests are built on the Arctic tundra, usually on dry ground in close proximity to marshy areas. The nest is a deep cup lined with dead willow leaves. Usually four eggs are laid and incubated for 23 or 24 days. Incubation duties may be shared by both sexes, but sometimes two clutches are produced, one tended by the female and the other tended by the male. Young leave the nest shortly after hatching and are able to fly in 17 days, though they are not independent for another week. This shorebird probes the soil on beaches and mudflats for invertebrates residing within one half inch of the surface.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.