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Bird name:


Calidris alpina




Sandpipers (Scolopacidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Tundra, Rivers, Wetlands, Moorland, Marshes, saltwater

Breeding Type:


Egg Colour:

Smooth, slightly glossy and pale green, pale olive or blue-green with brown or olive specks, spots or blotches.

Number of Eggs:

2 - 6

Incubation Days:

20 - 24

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:

Scrape lined with grasses, sedge, and willow.

Nest Location:

On the ground, usually on a grass mound.




Dunlin: Compact shorebird with slightly downcurved bill. Upperparts orange-brown with black spotting and streaking. Underparts white with fine black streaking on face and breast, and black on belly. Medium length, short, black legs. White wing stripe shows in fast, direct flight. Winter adults plain grey above, white below with some grey streaking on breast, and short, white eyebrow. Juveniles streaked and spotted red-brown, white, and black on upperparts, are pale brown on head, neck, and breast, and have some dark streaking on underparts.

Range and Habitat

Dunlin: Migrant breeder and visitor. Summer breeding grounds are located in upland areas of the UK and Ireland, and extend into the Northern Isles. Winter grounds include the entire UK coastline, with flocks found on every estuary. Fields, heath, and moors provide breeding habitat.

Breeding and Nesting

Dunlin: Male begins several nests, which are usually well hidden scrapes lined with vegetation. Female chooses one and completes it. Both parents incubate eggs and care for young. Female usually deserts young within a week; male remains nearly another fortnight until they fledge.

Foraging and Feeding

Dunlin: Eats invertebrates like insects, molluscs, crustaceans, and worms, located by sight and touch. Forages in flocks, sometimes numbering in thousands, along saltmarshes and coastal mudflats. Feeds with characteristic"sewing machine" movement.


Dunlin: Song is a soft "cheerp" or "chit-lit."

Similar Species

Dunlin: The Curlew Sandpiper is taller, has longer legs, and generally a longer and more curved bill and a longer, whiter supercilium in nonbreeding plumage. The Sanderling is a little larger, with a shorter, straighter bill, and is much whiter on the face and underparts in winter plumage.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX