Living Bird Magazine
Baird's SandpiperCalidris bairdii
- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Scolopacidae
Baird's Sandpiper’s long, tapering wings, an adaptation for its very long migrations, make it perhaps the most elegant of the “peeps,” the small sandpipers in the genus Calidris. Their delicate buff and brown tones are warmer than the grayish brown of many other sandpipers, lending a softness to their plumage that makes them among the most recognizable species of the group. Baird’s Sandpipers are often nicknamed “grasspipers” because of their tendency to forage in drier, more vegetated habitats than many shorebirds.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Most birders will want to look for Baird’s Sandpipers during migration as they pass swiftly through the center of North America. Look for them in drier places than most other shorebirds, including sod farms, grazed pastureland, harvested agricultural fields, rain puddles, and lake and river edges. They seldom flock with other shorebirds but often forage near them, though usually in the drier parts of the habitat and on the edges of flocks.
- Correlimos de Baird (Spanish)
- Bécasseau de Baird (French)
- Cool Facts
- In 1861, naturalist Elliott Coues described Baird’s Sandpiper, naming it in honor of his mentor Spencer Fullerton Baird, who was the second secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Baird’s Sandpiper was one of the last sandpipers to be described in North America.
- The migration of the Baird's Sandpiper takes it from the arctic to the tip of South America—and the birds do it in record time. Most individuals leave migration staging grounds and travel some 3,700 miles or more directly to northern South America (and some continue as far as Tierra del Fuego). They can complete the entire 9,300 mile journey in as little as 5 weeks.
- The female Baird's Sandpiper lays a clutch of eggs that together weigh more than her own body mass in just 4 days, shortly after arriving in the Arctic.