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Conservation status: Amber

The commonest small wader found along the coast. It has a slightly down-curved bill and a distinctive black belly patch in breeding plumage. It feeds in flocks in winter, sometimes numbering thousands, roosting on nearby fields, saltmarshes and shore when the tide is high.



Latin name

Calidris alpina


Sandpipers and allies (Scolopacidae)

Where to see them

Breeds in the uplands of Scotland, Wales and England. Greatest numbers found on the Western and Northern Isles and the Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland in Scotland, in the Pennines in England. Found on all UK estuaries with largest numbers in winter.

When to see them

All year round on the coast. On breeding grounds from April to July.

What they eat

Insects, snails and worms.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-8,600-10,600 pairs360,000 birds-



In the UK
Uplands (breeding) and most coasts (winter)


Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto