semipalmated sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.

 

IDENTIFICATION:

  • Length: 5 inches

  • Very small shorebird

  • Short, thin, dark bill not obviously thinner at tip than at base

  • Dark legs

  • Thin, white wing stripe

  • Black line on rump extends onto tail

  • Sexes similar

Adult alternate:

  • Black back feathers and wing coverts with gray edges

  • Some black streaking on breast

  • White underparts

  • Indistinct white supercilium, gray crown and cheeks

Adult basic:

  • Back and wing coverts gray with narrow black centers

  • Faint, partial gray breast band

  • White underparts

  • Indistinct white supercilium, gray crown and cheeks

Juvenile:

  • Black-based back feathers and wing coverts with white and gray                edges

  • May have faint orangish wash to upperparts and breast

  • Faint, partial gray breast band

  • White underparts

  • Dark crown contrasts with pale supercilium

Similar species:

The semipalmated sandpiper is one of a group of very similar small
shorebirds called "peeps". The sanderling is obviously larger with a
bolder wing stripe. White-rumped and Baird's sandpiper are larger
and appear especially longer-winged. Least sandpiper is browner,
has yellow legs (unless stained by mud), and a slightly decurved bill.
Western sandiper is most similar and is told in alternate plumage by
its rufous upperparts and in juvenile plumage by its rufous scapulars.
In basic plumage and in-between plumages note that the western
often has an obviously longer, thinner-tipped bill with a droop at the
tip, a more square-shaped head, and sometimes retains a few dark
chevrons on the flanks. The juvenile semipalmated sandpiper has a
darker crown than the basic plumage western sandpiper. The very
rare little and rufous-necked stints are more rufous in alternate and
juvenile plumages, the semipalmated lacking any rufous coloration. In
basic plumage, they are very similar.

 

LIFE HISTORY

Migration Status: N/A
Breeding Habitat: N/A
Nest Location: N/A
Nest Type: N/A
Clutch Size: 4
Length of Incubation: 20(18-22) days
Days to Fledge: 19
Number of Broods: 1
Diet: Almost exclusively aquatic invertebrates; lesser quantities of
   seeds.

 

SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION/SEASONAL OCCURRENCE

 

Relative abundance and seasonal occurrence are indicated in red below.

 

Relative abundance
     C - Common: Likely to be present in good numbers in appropriate habitat and season.
     U - Uncommon: May be present in appropriate habitat and season, often in low
            numbers.
     O - Occassional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times per season,
            sometimes low numbers.
     R - Rare: May not be recorded every year.
     Acc - Accidental: Recorded once or twice, may not be expected again for a long time.

 

Seasonal Occurrence
      Sp - Spring: March, April, May
      Su - Summer: June, July, August
R
      Fall: September, October, November

      Winter: December, January, February

 

 

Back to Inventory of Bird Families and Species

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