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Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla


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Semipalmated Sandpiper
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Scolopacidae, Sandpipers view all from this family

Description ADULT SUMMER Has streaked brown upperparts, neck, and chest, and otherwise white underparts. Many back feathers are dark at center, with rufous margins; has hint of rufous on crown, but never as striking as Western. ADULT winter Has gray-brown upperparts and white underparts. JUVENILE Has brown overall upperparts and white underparts; note the long, bold supercilium (meets at front of head), rather dark crown and ear coverts, and more scaly-looking back (due to pale feather margins).

Dimensions Length: 5 1/2-6 3/4" (14-17 cm)

Habitat Common high Arctic tundra breeder. Most migrate across plains to Gulf and Atlantic coasts in fall; after feeding, most fly direct to wintering grounds in South America; reverse route is followed in spring.

Observation Tips Seen mainly on coast on migration, Apr-May and Aug-Sep.

Range Eastern Canada, Northwest, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, California, Great Lakes, New England, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Western Canada, Alaska, Texas, Southeast, Southwest

Voice A clipped tchrrp call.

Discussion Tiny shorebird with dark legs; webbing between toes is only noticeable at very close range. Short, dark bill appears "blob-tipped" (longer and tapering in Western). Forms flocks outside breeding season. Sexes are similar.