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Rock Sandpiper

Silhouette SandpipersSandpipers
Rock SandpiperCalidris ptilocnemis
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Scolopacidae

Basic Description

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
image of range map for Rock Sandpiper
Year-roundBreedingMigrationNonbreeding
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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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.

Other Names

  • Correlimos Roquero (Spanish)
  • Bécasseau des Aléoutiennes (French)
  • Cool Facts

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