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Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima


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Purple Sandpiper
credit: Andreas Trepte/CCSA

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Family: Scolopacidae, Sandpipers view all from this family

Description ADULT SUMMER Has chestnut-brown crown and feather margins on back; face and neck are streaked and note darker ear coverts. Underparts are mainly white, but heavily streaked, and spotted on flanks. ADULT WINTER Has dark blue-gray upperparts including head, neck, and chest; underparts are whitish, with faint spots on flanks. JUVENILE Has streaked buffy brown upperparts with distinct pectoral transition on chest from white underparts.

Dimensions Length: 9" (23 cm)

Habitat Locally fairly common. Breeds on coastal tundra in northern Canada and Greenland. Winters on rocky shores on Atlantic coast.

Observation Tips Easiest to find in winter on rocky coasts. Usually tame but unobtrusive, hence easy to overlook.

Range Southeast, Eastern Canada, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Alaska, Great Lakes, New England, Texas

Voice Utters a sharp kwiit in flight.

Discussion Plump-bodied shorebird that feeds on rocky shores and on jetties, often among breaking waves. All birds have a slender, slightly downcurved bill with dull orange-yellow base, and yellow-orange to dark greenish legs. In flight, uniformly dark upperparts reveal only a faint pale wing stripe. Sexes are similar.