Cinereous above, with darker streaks; all the under parts white (winter): or ferruginous and white spotted with black; belly and abdomen white (summer).
C. arenaria, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. II. p. 524. Sanderling, Mont. Orn. Diet. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. I. p. 375. Common Sanderling, Selb. Illust. vol. ii. p. 208. pl. 36.
Entire length eight inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) one inch and half a line, (from the gape) one inch one line; of the tarsus eleven lines and a half; of the middle toe, claw included, eight lines and a half; from the carpus to the end of the wing four inches nine lines.
(Winter plumage). All the upper parts cinereous, with the shafts of the feathers blackish brown: forehead, cheeks, throat, sides of the neck, and all the under parts, pure white: the bend and edge of the wing blackish gray; primaries dusky, the edges and tips inclining to brown; wing-coverts broadly edged with white: tail deep gray, the feathers edged with white; the two middle ones darkest: bill, irides, and feet, black. (Summer plumage). Cheeks and upper part of the head black, the feathers edged and variegated with ferruginous and white: throat, neck, breast, and upper part of the flanks, reddish ash; the central portion of each feather black, the tip whitish: the rest of the under parts pure white: back and scapulars deep ferruginous, with large irregular patches and spots of black; all the feathers edged and tipped with whitish: wing-coverts dusky brown, margined and tipped with white, forming a transverse bar: the two middle tail-feathers blackish brown with ferruginous edges. (Young of the year before the first moult.> "Feathers on the crown of the head, back, scapulars, and wing-coverts, black, edged and spotted with yellowish; between the bill and the eye a cinereous brown streak; nape, sides of the neck, and sides of the breast, pale gray, with fine undulating streaks; forehead, throat, fore part of the neck, and all the under parts, pure white: wings and tail as in the adult." Temm. (Egg). Olive ground, spotted and speckled with black: long. diam. one inch four lines; trans, diam. one inch.
Not uncommon in small flocks on many parts of the coast, but rarely observed inland. Is partial to sandy shores, feeding upon marine insects. Breeds in high northern latitudes. Said to construct a rude nest of grass in the marshes, and to lay four eggs; incubation commencing in the middle of June.