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Calidris alpina

Calidris alpina (*)

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Subordo: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Ordo: Charadriiformes
Subordo: Charadrii

Familia: Scolopacidae
Genus: Calidris
Species: Calidris alpina
Subspecies: C. a. actites – C. a. alpina – C. a. arctica – C. a. arcticola – C. a. centralis – C. a. hudsonia – C. a. kistchinski – C. a. pacifica – C. a. sakhalina – C. a. schinzii

Calidris alpina (Linnaeus, 1758)

Tringa alpina (protonym)
Ereunetes alpina
Erolia alpina


Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Editio Decima, Reformata. Tomus I. Holmiæ (Stockholm): impensis direct. Laurentii Salvii. 824 pp. DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.542 BHL p. 149 BHL Reference page.

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Bontstrandloper
العربية: دريجة رهيز
asturianu: Mazaricu
azərbaycanca: Qaradöş qumluq cüllütü
беларуская: Вялікі кіркун
български: Тъмногръд брегобегач
brezhoneg: Sourouc'han boutin
català: Territ variant
kaszëbsczi: Biegôcz
čeština: Jespák obecný
Cymraeg: Pibydd y Mawn
dansk: Almindelig ryle
Deutsch: Alpenstrandläufer
Ελληνικά: Λασπονεραλλίδι
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Giurgiol
English: Dunlin
Esperanto: Bunta kalidro
español: Correlimos común
eesti: Soorüdi
euskara: Txirri arrunt
suomi: Suosirri
føroyskt: Fjallmurra
Nordfriisk: Stönerk
français: Bécasseau variable
Frysk: Bûnte Gril
Gaeilge: Breacóg
Gàidhlig: Graillig
galego: Pilro común
Avañe'ẽ: Chululu'i
Gaelg: Breck ny Traie
עברית: חופית אלפינית
hrvatski: Žalar Cirikavac
Kreyòl ayisyen: Bekasin vant nwa
magyar: Havasi partfutó
հայերեն: Կտցար սևախածիկ
íslenska: Lóuþræll
italiano: Piovanello pancianera
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: Aiviukak
日本語: ハマシギ
ქართული: შავჩიჩახვა მექვიშია
қазақша: Қаратєс құмдаыық
한국어: 민물도요
lietuvių: Juodkrūtis bėgikas
latviešu: Parastais šņibītis
македонски: Северен песочен свиркач
монгол: Хар элсэг
Bahasa Melayu: Burung Kedidi Dunlin
Malti: Beggazzina tat-tiżż
Nederlands: Bonte strandloper
norsk nynorsk: Myrsnipe
norsk: Myrsnipe
polski: Biegus zmienny
پنجابی: ڈنلن
português: Pilrito-comum
rumantsch: Rivarel alpin
русский: Чернозобик
davvisámegiella: Jeaggecovzoš
slovenčina: Pobrežník čiernozobý
slovenščina: Spremenljivi prodnik
shqip: Gjelëza gushëzezë
српски / srpski: Obicni blataric
svenska: Kärrsnäppa
ไทย: นกชายเลนท้องดำ
Türkçe: Kara karınlı kum kuşu
українська: Побережник чорногрудий
Tiếng Việt: Dẽ trán trắng
中文: 黑腹滨鹬

The dunlin (Calidris alpina) is a small wader, formerly sometimes separated with the other "stints" in the genus Erolia. The English name is a dialect form of "dunling", first recorded in 1531–1532. It derives from dun, "dull brown", with the suffix -ling, meaning a person or thing with the given quality.[2]

It is a circumpolar breeder in Arctic or subarctic regions. Birds that breed in northern Europe and Asia are long-distance migrants, wintering south to Africa, southeast Asia and the Middle East. Birds that breed in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic migrate short distances to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America, although those nesting in northern Alaska overwinter in Asia. Many dunlins winter along the Iberian south coast.


The dunlin was formally described by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae under the binomial name Tringa alpina. Linnaeus specified the location as Lapland.[3] This species was formerly placed in the genus Erolia,[4][5] but is now placed with 23 other sandpipers in the genus Calidris that was introduced in 1804 by the German naturalist Blasius Merrem.[6][7] The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds. The specific alpina is from Latin and means "of high mountains", in this case referring to the Alps.[8]

Ten subspecies are recognised:[7]

C. a. arctica (Schiøler, 1922) — breeds in northeast Greenland
C. a. schinzii (Brehm & Schilling, 1822) — breeds in southeast Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, Scandinavia & the Baltic
C. a. alpina (Linnaeus, 1758) — breeds in northern Europe and northwest Siberia
C. a. centralis (Buturlin, 1932) — breeds in north-central and northeast Siberia
C. a. sakhalina (Vieillot, 1816) — breeds in eastern Russia to the Chukchi Peninsula
C. a. kistchinski Tomkovich, 1986 — breeds around the Sea of Okhotsk to Kuril Islands and Kamchatka
C. a. actites Nechaev & Tomkovich, 1988 — breeds on Sakhalin
C. a. arcticola (Todd, 1953) — breeds from northwest Alaska to northwest Canada
C. a. pacifica (Coues, 1861) — breeds in western and southern Alaska
C. a. hudsonia (Todd, 1953) — breeds in central Canada

Adult dunlin in winter plumage, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, USA
Dunlin in late September at Easton Bavents, Suffolk, UK


Length: 16–22 cm (6.3–8.7 in)
Weight: 48–77 g (1.7–2.7 oz)
Wingspan: 36–38 cm (14.2–15.0 in)

An adult dunlin in breeding plumage shows the distinctive black belly which no other similar-sized wader possesses. The winter dunlin is basically grey above and white below. Juveniles are brown above with two whitish "V" shapes on the back. They usually have black marks on the flanks or belly and show a strong white wingbar in flight. The legs and slightly decurved bill are black. There are a number of subspecies differing mainly in the extent of rufous colouration in the breeding plumage and the bill length. Bill length varies between sexes, the females having longer bills than the males. On the tip of the Dunlin's bill is a soft covering that fills with blood and with many nerve endings, forming a sensitive probe that is used to locate invertebrate prey in mud and sand. Although the bill can look sharp-pointed in dead specimens, in life it is blunt.[10]

The call is a typical sandpiper "peep", and the display song a harsh trill.
Distribution and habitat

Dunlin are small migratory waders, however they show strong philopatry with individuals of the Southern Dunlin (Calidris alpina schinzii) in Sweden and Finland returning to, or very close to, their natal patches. Habitat fragmentation has reduced the availability of habitat patches to these birds through reducing patch size and increasing patch isolation. This reduced connectivity between patches has reduced the movements of Dunlin leaving them more susceptible to inbreeding in these locations. Future management for the conservation of Southern Dunlin should include increasing the connectivity between habitat patches.[11]
Distribution of subspecies, migration routes, and major European wintering sites

The dunlin is highly gregarious in winter, sometimes forming large flocks on coastal mudflats or sandy beaches. Large numbers can often be seen swirling in synchronized flight on stop-overs during migration or on their winter habitat.

This bird is one of the most common waders throughout its breeding and wintering ranges, and it is the species with which other waders tend to be compared. At 17–21 cm (6.7–8.3 in) length and with a 32–36 cm (13–14 in) wingspan, it is similar in size to a common starling, but stouter, with a thicker bill.

The dunlin moves along the coastal mudflat beaches it prefers with a characteristic "sewing machine" feeding action, methodically picking small food items. Insects form the main part of the dunlin's diet on the nesting grounds; it eats molluscs, worms and crustaceans in coastal areas.
Eggs, Collection Museum Wiesbaden, Germany

The nest is a shallow scrape on the ground lined with vegetation, into which typically four eggs are laid and incubated by the male and female parents. Chicks are precocial, however are brooded during early development. They start to fly at approximately three weeks of age. The majority of brood care is provided by the male, as the female deserts the brood and often leaves the breeding area.

Apparent hybrids between this species and the white-rumped sandpiper as well as with the purple sandpiper have been reported from the Atlantic coasts of North America[12][13] and Europe,[14] respectively.

The dunlin has an extremely large range and although the population appears to be decreasing, the population is still very large. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has judged that the threat to the species is of "Least concern".[1] The dunlin is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.[15]


BirdLife International (2019). "Calidris alpina". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T22693427A155480296. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22693427A155480296.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
"Dunlin". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Vol. 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 149.
Peters, James Lee, ed. (1934). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 2. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 286.
Committee on Classification and Nomenclature (1973). "Thirty-Second Supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-List of North American Birds". Auk. 90 (2): 411–419 [415].
Merrem, Blasius (8 June 1804). "Naturgeschichte". Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (in German). 168. Col. 542. Published anonymously.
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2021). "Sandpipers, snipes, coursers". IOC World Bird List Version 11.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 84, 42. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
"Dunlin Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology". Retrieved 2020-09-27.
Kaiser, Gary W. (2007). The Inner Bird: Anatomy and Evolution. UBC Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-7748-1344-0.
Pakanen, V.-M.; Koivula, K.; Flodin, L.-Å.; Grissot, A.; Hagstedt, R.; Larsson, M.; Pauliny, A.; Rönkä, N.; Blomqvist, D. (2017). "Between-patch natal dispersal declines with increasing natal patch size and distance to other patches in the endangered Southern Dunlin Calidris alpina schinzii". Ibis. 159 (3): 611–622. doi:10.1111/ibi.12463.
McLaughlin, K.A.; Wormington, A. (2000). "An apparent Dunlin × White-rumped Sandpiper hybrid". Ontario Birds. 18 (1): 8–12.
Wilson, Angus. "A putative hybrid white-rumped sandpiper × dunlin from the east coast of the USA". Ocean Wanderers. Retrieved 11 October 2006.
Millington, Richard (1994). "A mystery Calidris at Cley". Birding World. 7 (2): 61–63. Archived from the original on 17 June 2004.
"Species". Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). Retrieved 14 November 2021.

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