Nature Journal
with Photos

Sanderling Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Small shorebird
- Medium-length, thin, dark bill
- Dark legs
- Wide, white wing stripe
- Black line on rump extends onto tail
- Sexes similar

Adult alternate
- Reddish head, back and breast with black spots
- Gray wings
- White belly

Adult basic
- Pale gray head and upperparts
- Faint, partial gray breast band
- White underparts
- Indistinct white supercilium and dark eyeline

- Checkered upperparts
- Black patch in front of folded wing
- Faint, partial gray breast band
- White underparts
- Face pattern bolder than adult basic

Similar species
In alternate plumage, Red Knot and rare Curlew Sandpiper also have a reddish face and breast but are obviously larger and have more extensive red breasts. In basic plumage, the Sanderling is very similar to smaller "peeps" but has a more obvious wing stripe.
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