SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER

SEMI-PALMATED SANDPIPER (Calidris pusilla)

This small wading bird has the same habitat as the semipalmated plover, and both species are found together along the shores, where they are foraging for crustaceans as the waves recede. They migrate south in the winter, as their source of food can be under several feet of ice. The semipalmated sandpiper breeds in the tundra. The sexes are similar.

VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Calidris-pusilla –The semipalmated sandpiper is part of what are called the ‘peeps’, owing to their high-pitch call.

NAME: The English name ‘Sandpiper’ stems from ‘sand’, and Latin ‘pipa’, which means to ‘chirp’. The Latin genus name ‘Calidris’ is from ancient Greek and refers to a grey speckled shorebird.

When it’s windy, this bird will shelter behind heaps of seaweed and sand (as seen below)  with other species such as the semipalmated plover.

HOPPING ON ONE LEG: Here’s what photographer Chris Rice said about his close up photo below: “Funny little guy forgot he had two legs and hopped around 15 feet before he lowered the other leg to start running. ” I have also seen this behavior in that species, as well as with the semipalmated plover, at Brackley Beach.

REFERENCES: http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/semipalmatedsandpiper.htm (New Hampshire PBS)

Sandpiper searching for food at the edge of Long Island Sound - Stratford, CT
Sandpiper searching for food at the edge of Long Island Sound – Stratford, CT

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