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the web of life in southern Africa

Calidris alpina (Dunlin) 

Bontstrandloper [Afrikaans]; Arctische bonte strandloper [Dutch]; Bécasseau variable [French]; Alpenstrandläufer [German]; Pilrito-comum [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Charadriiformes > Family: Scolopacidae

Calidris alpina (Dunlin)   

Dunlin, California, USA. [photo Jeff Poklen ©]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds in the circumpolar region above 55° North, dispersing in the non-breeding season to coasts further south up to the area north of the equator, such as between Guinea and Sudan in Africa. It is a rare vagrant further south, including to southern Africa, where it has been sighted five times: twice at the Western Cape coast, once at central Namibia's coast and twice inland in north-eastern South Africa. It generally prefers coastal mudflats, pans and lagoons, occasionally occurring further inland at lakes, dams, river flood plains and flooded pastures.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.