Dunlin

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Scientific Information

Adult Dunlin in breeding plumage.
Juvenile Dunlin
Dunlin (Calidris alpina) are a familiar shorebird around the world. It has a bright reddish back and black belly with a long drooping bill. It’s a medium-sized sandpiper with a short neck. The Dunlin that breed here on the Seward Peninsula apparently move west, migrating down the eastern side of Siberia and Asia to Japan and China. Their drooping black bill is used to probe and pick up food while wading in the shallows.

There are three subspecies of Dunlin that breed in North America. The subspecies C.a. arcticola is found in the Bering Straits.

Community Information

Shishmaref

Name

Ilaaqtalik

Spoken Name

Relevant Site Information

The name stands for the belly patch. Known locally to the kids as black bellies, Dunlins are a very common shorebird to the island. Hundreds will arrive in the spring to stage and move on to their breeding grounds. Some will stay and breed here and people will hunt for their eggs. They usually make 3 eggs. In the fall time, thousands may be found around the island probing for food along exposed sand bars. Young hunters will stalk these and traditionally take their kills home to their parents or grandparents to cook.

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