- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Scolopacidae
Among shorebirds, the Rock Sandpiper could win a prize for hardiness. It not only breeds in the Arctic, but also winters farther north than most other shorebirds, amid ice-encrusted rocky shores and mudflats. During its brief nesting season, these rather stout, gray shorebirds are a blur of activity, feeding heavily, displaying, building multiple nests, and raising chicks in just a few short weeks. Afterward, they gather in flocks, feeding on invertebrates in both rocky and muddy tidal habitats.More ID Info
Find This Bird
In the breeding season, it can be relatively easy to find Rock Sandpipers along western Alaska shorelines, including the Pribilof and Aleutian Islands. From late fall through early spring, look through groups of Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones, Sanderlings, and Surfbirds to find wintering Rock Sandpipers from British Columbia to Northern California. Check a tide chart and look during high tide, when Rock Sandpipers stop foraging and concentrate at roost sites.
- Correlimos Roquero (Spanish)
- Bécasseau des Aléoutiennes (French)
- Cool Facts
- Rock Sandpipers that winter in the Pacific Northwest spend much of their time foraging in close association with Black Oystercatchers, Surfbirds, Black Turnstones, and Sanderlings. The birds’ different sizes and bill shapes allow them to concentrate on different kinds of prey without competing with each other.
- The Rock Sandpiper is among the most variable of sandpipers in both size and color pattern. The largest and brightest birds breed in the central portion of the range, while the smallest and darkest live in the southern and western part of the range.
- The oldest recorded Rock Sandpiper was at least 7 years, 4 months old when it was found in Alaska, the same state where it had been banded.