Semipalmated Sandpiper

Calidris pusilla


Image of a semipalpated sandpiper, Calidris pusilla, on a beach.
Image by Rhododendrites on Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Physical: Semipalmated Sandpipers are small, migratory shorebirds with a wingspan of roughly 14 to 15 inches (36 to 38 cm) and a length of about 5.5 to 6.5 inches (14 to 16 cm). They are distinguished by a short, straight beak and comparatively short, black-colored legs. Seasonal variations in their appearance include a gray-brown upper body and white underparts with faint striping during breeding season and a more uniform gray color during non-breeding months. The partial webbing in between their toes is referred to as being “semipalmated.”

Habitat: These sandpipers can be found in a variety of wetland settings. They can be seen in the Arctic tundra during breeding season. They live on Central and South American coastal mudflats, estuaries, lagoons, and beaches during the winter and while migrating.

Feeding: Semipalmated sandpipers primarily feed on small invertebrates such as insects, worms, and crustaceans. They forage by probing their bills into the mud or sand, detecting prey through touch.

Breeding: These birds nest on the ground in open areas within the Arctic tundra. Nests are simple depressions, often lined with plant material. The female typically lays 4 eggs, and both parents participate in incubation. Shortly after hatching, the chicks are precocial, meaning they can feed themselves and move about, although they still rely on parental protection.

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