Posts Tagged ‘ocean birds’

Sanderlings are small sandpipers, 18-20 in length. Weighing anywhere from 40-100 g. In the winter it becomes very pale, in the summer the face and throat become brick-red. They are mostly seen along the edge of the water, picking at bugs in the sand or along the waters edge. They are also known to nest in the plants in the sand.

While we were at plum island I noticed these birds scurrying along the beach. Everyone thought they were baby seagulls because of their shape, but they have several differences from seagulls. First off the beaks are of different shape and color. Seagulls have thicker beaks that are orange while sanderlings have thinner beaks which are usually black. The coloring of the wings are also different with the birds, seagulls are mostly white with slight hints of color. Sanderlings are usually white on their belly with different shades of brown for their top feathers. They also walk differently. Seagulls take longer strides while sanderlings walk swiftly on shorter legs.

Sanderlings are found on open sandy beaches at the edge of the waves, on sandbars and where the grass meets the sand. They roost on sand in the dunes or behind piles of kelp. Their average size is 20 cm, average weight is 60 g, and their breeding season is  June to August. Their family size is three to four with a nesting period of 27 days. They eat mostly insects and other smaller bugs along the seashore and small crustaceans. They also eat seeds on their nesting grounds. They are threatened on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (the migration route to Australia) including problems of economic and social issues like; wetland destruction and change, pollution and hunting.





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