Calidris alpina
Range Map

Dunlins breed in the far north around the globe, but spend winter months along the coasts of most of North America, North Africa and Southern Asia.

There is some disagreement about the status of Dunlin subspecies. Some scientists believe there are only five, while others believe there are more. The long list includes:

  • C. a. arctica breeds in northeast Greenland and winters in western Europe.
  • C. a. schinzii breeds in southeast Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, Scandinavia & the Baltic and winters in western Europe and northwestern Africa.
  • C. a. alpina breeds in northern Europe and northwest Siberia and winters on the eastern Mediterranean, Iran, and the Persian Gulf to west India.
  • C. a. centralis breeds in north-central and northeast Siberia.
  • C. a. sakhalina breeds in eastern Russia to the Chukchi Peninsula and winters from Korea to southeast Asia.
  • C. a. kistchinski breeds around the Sea of Okhotsk to Kuril Islands and Kamchatka.
  • C. a. actites breeds in Russia on Sakhalin Island.
  • C. a. arcticola breeds from northwest Alaska to northwest Canada.
  • C. a. pacifica breeds in western and southern Alaska and winters along the west coast of North America south through Mexico.
  • C. a. hudsonia breeds in central Canada and winters in southeastern USA on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Most of my encounters with Dunlins have been in southern California, but on my last day at South Padre in 2021, I met birds in their bright breeding (alternate) plumage. Presumably, the birds I met in southern California were members of the C. a. pacifica group, and those I met in Texas were C. a. hudsonia.

23 Photos

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