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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Calidris alba
POPULATION: 300,000 (North America); global population unknown.
HABITAT: Breeds on high Arctic tundra; winters along sandy beaches, on tidal flats, and at the edges of lagoons.
Sanderlings are part of the shorebird family Scolopacidae, a wide-ranging and diverse group ranging from the Semipalmated Sandpiper and Red Knot to the Long-billed Curlew and American Woodcock.
Unlike other members of its family, the Sanderling lacks a hind toe, a modification that helps this bird run across sandy surfaces. The ability to run quickly and efficiently on sand is especially important to this species, which forages along the ocean’s edge.