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Birding Málaga


Common name Sanderling
Scientific name Calidris alba
Type Waterbirds
Status Wintering

Medium-sized wader (approx 21 cm or 8.5 in) with very pale plumage. It is the easiest bird to identify in its group. Grey upperparts and head, white underparts and throat. Black spot on the shoulders and at the wing tips. Black bill and legs. In bridal plumage the grey colour of the back and the head turns brown.


Marine environment

Where it lives

Wet meadows with lichens and mosses from northern Europe during the breeding period. Coasts with sandy beaches and littoral wetlands in winter.

How it lives

Wintering species in the province. Present also in migratory passage. This wader breeds in the Arctic and in Greenland. Nest on the ground, one laying of 3 to 4 eggs during the thaw. It feeds on crustaceans, molluscs and insects that it catches running along the shore, in the surf breakers. Sociable and gregarious.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Usual bird during the winter. It can be watched in all the Coastal Path, especially on sandy beaches where it is not disturbed and also in littoral rocky places like Punta de Calaburras. Present also in the mouth of the Guadalhorce and in the less urbanized area of the Costa del Sol coastline.

Curious facts

Caladris means "shore bird". The Sanderling's Latin name makes its habitat preference clear and its eminently white or pale colour. All sandpiper-like birds have 4 toes, three forward longer and a short thumb backward. The Sanderling has lost the back thumb, so it only has three toes, hence its common name in Spanish ("correlimos tridáctilo" means "three-toed sandpiper").

Similar birds
Wintering Summer Resident Migration