Calidris alpina - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Dunlin
Other English Common Names: dunlin
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Calidris alpina (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 176661)
French Common Names: bécasseau variable
Spanish Common Names: Playero de Lomo Rojo
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101733
Element Code: ABNNF11170
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Shorebirds
Image 7583

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Calidris alpina
Taxonomic Comments: See Browning (1991) for taxonomic information on dunlins from northern Alaska and eastern Siberia. Wenink et al. (1996) examined mtDNA variation among 15 breeding populations throughout the circumpolar range and found five major phylogeographic groups, each corresponding to a morphometrically defined subspecies, but other recognized subspecies were not supported by monophyletic mtDNA lineages within their purported ranges.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 26Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: One of the largest population sizes of any shorebird globally
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4N5B,N4N,N5M (25Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5N), Alaska (S4B,S4N), Arizona (S2N), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNRN), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (S3N), District of Columbia (S1S2N), Florida (S4N), Georgia (S5), Hawaii (SNA), Idaho (S1M), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (S3N), Kansas (S2N), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (S5N), Maine (S3N), Maryland (S3N), Massachusetts (S5N), Michigan (SNRN), Minnesota (SNRM), Mississippi (S4N), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Navajo Nation (S2M), Nebraska (SNRN), Nevada (S4N), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (S4N), New Mexico (S4N), New York (SNRN), North Carolina (S5N), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (S2N), Oregon (S5N), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNRN), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (S3N), Texas (S4), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNRN), Washington (S4S5N), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (S4N), Wyoming (S4N)
Canada Alberta (S4M), British Columbia (S4N), Labrador (S3M), Manitoba (S3B), New Brunswick (S4M), Newfoundland Island (S3M), Northwest Territories (S3B), Nova Scotia (S4M), Nunavut (S4B,S4M), Ontario (S4B,S5N), Prince Edward Island (S4M), Quebec (S4B), Saskatchewan (S5M), Yukon Territory (S4M)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: northern Alaska, northern Mackenzie, northeastern Keewatin, and southern Somerset Island south to coastal western Alaska, Southampton Island, northeastern Manitoba, and northern Ontario; eastern Greenland, Iceland, Sptizbergen, Novaya Zemlya, arctic coast of Siberia, Kamchatka Peninsula, and Sakhalin Island south to British Isles, Baltic region, northern Russia, and northern China (AOU 1983, Browning 1991). WINTERS: along Pacific coast from southeastern Alaska south to Baja California and Sonora, on Atlantic-Gulf-Caribbean coast from Massachusetts south to Florida, west to Texas, south to Yucatan Peninsula; in Old World from southern Europe and southern Asia to Cape Verde Islands, northern Afria, Arabia, Indian coast, and Formosa (AOU 1983); occasionally in Hawaii. Nonbreeders often summer in winter range. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, is an important migration stop in western North America (Handel and Gill 1992). See Browning (1991) for information on the distribution of subspecies in northern Alaska and eastern Siberia.

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: If a population number of about 5 million is accurate, the area of occupancy should easily exceed 20,000 square kilometers since studies have shown nesting territory sizes to be from approximately 1 to 7.5 hectares (Warnock and Gill, 1996).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: With a fully circumpolar distribution and an estimated global population size of 4.6 to 6.5 million birds (Birdlife International, 2014) ,there should be at least 300 element occurrences

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Birdlife International (2014) states that the global population is estimated to be between 4.6 and 6.5 individuals according to a Wetlands International study. Morrison et al. (2001) estimated the global population to be at least 3,934,000, with North American populations ranging up to 1,525,000 individuals.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: An estimate based on estimated population numbers and its circumpolar distribution

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Climate change may affect this species at its typical breeding localities at northern latitudes. Loss of habitat at wintering grounds may also be severe, with some findings as high as 30 - 91% reduction (Warnock and gill, 1996).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Birdlife International (2014) described the overall populatoin trend as decreasing, although some populations are stable or have unknown trends. Morrison (1993/1994) categorized the population trend in Canada as "stable?"

Long-term Trend: Decline of <50% to increase of <25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Birdlife International (2014) described the overall populatoin trend as decreasing, although some populations are stable or have unknown trends. Morrison (1993/1994) categorized the population trend in Canada as "stable?" The National Audubon Society (2014) describe this species as "apparently stable with a few exception."

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable to not intrinsically vulnerable.
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Climate change may impact its breeding habitat in the high latitudes.

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Utilizes wide array of habitats during migration and wintering sites but breeding habitat requirements in the high Arctic is moderate specificity.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Monitoring schemes need to be initiated so that population trends for this species can be followed Warnock and Gill, 1996).

Protection Needs: Protect important breeding sites and wintering areas from being degraded.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: northern Alaska, northern Mackenzie, northeastern Keewatin, and southern Somerset Island south to coastal western Alaska, Southampton Island, northeastern Manitoba, and northern Ontario; eastern Greenland, Iceland, Sptizbergen, Novaya Zemlya, arctic coast of Siberia, Kamchatka Peninsula, and Sakhalin Island south to British Isles, Baltic region, northern Russia, and northern China (AOU 1983, Browning 1991). WINTERS: along Pacific coast from southeastern Alaska south to Baja California and Sonora, on Atlantic-Gulf-Caribbean coast from Massachusetts south to Florida, west to Texas, south to Yucatan Peninsula; in Old World from southern Europe and southern Asia to Cape Verde Islands, northern Afria, Arabia, Indian coast, and Formosa (AOU 1983); occasionally in Hawaii. Nonbreeders often summer in winter range. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, is an important migration stop in western North America (Handel and Gill 1992). See Browning (1991) for information on the distribution of subspecies in northern Alaska and eastern Siberia.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; NatureServe, 2003; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Ada (16001), Bannock (16005), Bingham (16011), Bonner (16017), Boundary (16021), Canyon (16027), Elmore (16039), Fremont (16043), Jefferson (16051), Kootenai (16055), Latah (16057), Madison (16065), Nez Perce (16069), Owyhee (16073), Power (16077)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+, Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Teton (17040204)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, C. J. Idaho (17050101)+, Bruneau (17050102)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Upper Owyhee (17050104)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Clearwater (17060306)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Breeding begins late May to early June in the Western Hemisphere (clutches completed mainly mid-June in Beaufort Sea area). Both sexes, in turn, incubate 4 eggs for 21-22 days. Nestlings are precocial and downy. Young are independent in about 25 days (Harrison 1978). Often nests near other pairs of dunlins. In northern Alaska, up to 15 nests per sq km have been recorded in several areas of coastal tundra and sites a few miles inland.
Ecology Comments: Nonbreeding: often in large flocks, which in some roosting areas may include 10,000s (Handel and Gill 1992). Often seen in association with sanderlings and other shorebirds.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates mainly along coasts, smaller numbers in interior North America. Begins migrating northward along Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America in March-April, arrives in northern Alaska in late May. After fledging, juveniles move to coastal habitat in late July and early August in northern Alaska; adults move to upland areas. Departs breeding grounds late August or September. Breeders banded at Point Barrow, Alaska, were recaptured in October at Cape Lazarev, Siberia, and Sakhalin Island (see Browning 1991). Postbreeders roost in large flocks and feed on expansive intertidal mudflats of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, from July until early October, then to southeastern Asia and California (Handel and Gill 1992). Southbound migrants reach central California coast by mid-October. Often migrates in large flocks.
Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland, Tidal flat/shore
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, Riparian, TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Sand/dune, Tundra
Habitat Comments: Nonbreeding: mudflats, estuaries, marshes, flooded fields, sandy or gravelly beaches, and shores of lakes, ponds, and sloughs (AOU 1983, Smith and Connors 1993). In central California, movements from coastal habitats to inland habitats occurred in conjunction with winter storms (heavy rain) (Warnock et al. 1995). On the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, major diurnal roost sites were adjacent to intertidal feeding areas, provided a unobstructed view of predators, and were close to shallow waters used for bathing (Handel and Gill 1992). Nests in wet coastal tundra (AOU 1983), grass or sedge tundra with pools and bogs. Nests on the ground, usually in drier sites such as strangmoor ridges.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: During the breeding season feeds primarily on larvae of flies and mosquitoes. During the rest of the year feeds on crustaceans, marine worms, mollusks, and insects. Migrants in spring in south-central Alaska relied heavly on clams, MACOMA BALTHICA (Senner et al. 1989). Consumes large numbers of horseshoe crab eggs in spring at Delaware Bay (Castro and Myers 1993). Runs around feeding areas probing mud and sand with bill.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Spring migrants in south-central Alaska rested during high tides and fed most heavily during falling tides (Senner et al. 1989). On the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, roosting varied with time of day, tide level, and season (Handel and Gill 1992).
Length: 22 centimeters
Weight: 60 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: The diets of some winteirng Dunlin populations are largely unknown as is basic data on the energetics of Dunlin and their susceptibility to various toxins (Warnonck and Gill, 1996). Monitoring schemes are needed to provide better accurate estimates of the populaton sizes of the Dunlin populations.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Shorebirds

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Feeding Area, Breeding Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: Breeding occurrences include nesting areas as well as foraging areas of nesting adults and broods. Because separations are based on nesting areas, the foraging areas of different occurrences may overlap if nesting birds are traveling to distant places to feed.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance pertains specifically to nesting areas, not to locations of dispersed foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap of more than 5 km are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas.

The separation distance is an arbitrary value; it is impractical to attempt to delineate shorebird occurrences on the basis of dispersal patterns or metapopulation dynamics. Foraging ranges of some nesting shorebird species (see following) may suggest use of a larger separation distance, but this likely would result in occurrences that are too large and less effective for conservation planning.

Separation distance based on larger 'typical' breeding home ranges with diameters of 1.5 to 3 kilometers. Semipalmated Plovers have breeding home ranges up to 3 square kilometers, i.e. a diameter of just under 2 kilometers (Nol and Blanken 1999). Red-necked Phalaropes have a core home range of 1-3 hectares, but occasionally travel 1.5 kilometers to feed (Rubega et al. 2000). Stilt Sandpipers can forage up to 8 kilometers from nest (Jehl 1973). Mountain Plovers have an average home range of 56.6 hectares (Knopf 1996) but broods typically move 1-2 kilometers shortly after hatching (Knopf and Rupert 1996).

Territories: Common Snipe, 6.4-28.6 hectares (Mueller 1999); Long-billed Dowitcher, 100-300 meter diameter (Johnsgard 1981); golden-plovers, average 10-59 hectares (Johnson and Connors 1996); Long-billed Curlew, 6-20 hectares (Johnsgard 1981).

Nesting densities: Black-bellied Plover, 0.3-2.3 pairs per square kilometer (44 ha per pair at latter density; Hussell and Page 1976, Parmelee et al. 1967); Marbled Godwit, maximum density 1 pair/32 hectares (Stewart and Kantrud 1972).

Foraging distances: Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, up to 13 kilometers from nest (Elphick and Tibbits 1998, Tibbits and Moskoff 1999).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1.5 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on a smaller 'typical' home ranges (see Separation Justification).
Date: 25Mar2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Roost, Foraging concentration area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat (minimum can be reduced in the case of rarer species). Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 5 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging or roosting birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 15Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Roost, Winter Feeding Area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of wintering flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 5 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging or roosting birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 25Mar2004
Author: S. Cannings
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Sep2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jue, Dean K.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 27Mar1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Ridgely, R. S. and P. J. Greenfield. 2001. The birds of Ecuador: Status, distribution, and taxonomy. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, USA.

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  • Terres, J. K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

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  • Warnock, N.D., and R.E. Gill. 1996. Dunlin (CALIDRIS ALPINA). In A. Poole and F. Gill, editors. The Birds of North America, No. 203. Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC. 24 pp.

  • Warnock, Nils D. and Robert E. Gill. 1996. Dunlin; The Birds of North America. Vol. 6, No. 203. American Orinithologists' Union. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

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  • Wildlife Management Information System (WMIS). 2006+. Geo-referenced wildlife datasets (1900 to present) from all projects conducted by Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories, Canada.  Available at http://www.enr.gov.nt.ca/programs/wildlife-research/wildlife-management-information-services

  • Wood, MERRILL. 1979. BIRDS OF PENNSYLVANIA. PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV., UNIVERSITY PARK. 133 PP.

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