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Calidris alpina

Photo by Jari Peltomäki (Luonto Portti)

Common name:
dunlin (en); pilrito-comum (pt); bécasseau variable (fr); correlimos común (es); Alpenstrandläufer (de)

Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae

This species breeds at high latitudes in both Europe, America and Asia, from south-eastern Greenland, Iceland and the northern British Isles, through Scandinavia and the Baltic coast, throughout northern Russia, into western and northern Alaska and northern Canada. They migrate south to winter along the coasts of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, as far south as West Africa, northern India, south-eastern China, Mexico and the northern Caribbean. Also in some inland wetlands.

These birds are 16-22 cm long and have a wingspan of 32-38 cm. They weigh 36-64 g.

Dunlins breed in wet tundra, wet coastal grasslands, saltmarshes and wet upland moorland. Outside the breeding season they are mostly found in estuarine mudflats, also using sandy beaches, marshes, flooded fields, lagoons and ponds, and saltpans.

On the breeding grounds they feed mainly on insects and insects larvae, but elsewhere they feed on various invertebrates such as polychaete worms, small bivalves and molluscs, crustaceans, insects and occasionally small fish.

Dunlins breed in May-July. The male builds the nest, a shallow scrape on the ground lined with grasses, sedges and leaves, where the female lays 4 eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 20-24 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching are able to feed themselves, relying on their parents for protection. They start flying 18-21 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 4,6-6,5 million individuals. The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations are stable or have unknown trends.

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