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Rock Sandpiper


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Rock Sandpiper Photo

A stocky shorebird of the rocky Pacific Coast, the Rock Sandpiper winters farther north than any other North American shorebird.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
7.1–9.4 in
18–24 cm
15.4 in
39 cm
2–4.6 oz
57–130 g
Other Names
  • Bécasseau d'Alaska (French)
  • Chichicuilote de las piedras (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Rock Sandpiper is among the most variable of sandpipers, showing a great deal of variation in size and color pattern amongst its isolated populations. 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.



Breeds in grassy or mossy tundra in coastal or montane areas. Winters along rocky seacoasts, breakwaters, and mudflats.




Nesting Facts
Condition at Hatching
Active and covered with down.
Nest Placement





status via IUCN

Least Concern

There is little information on Rock Sandpiper population trends and numbers. A 2012 study noted that no new population estimates had been made since 2006; at that time the total continental breeding population was estimated around 145,000 birds. At least one subspecies in the Bering Sea may be in decline. Rock Sandpiper is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.


  • Gill, R. E., P. S. Tomkovich, and B. J. McCaffery. 2002. Rock Sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis). In The Birds of North America, No. 686 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
  • Andres, B.A., P.A. Smith, R.I.G. Morrison, C.L. Gratto-Trevor, S.C. Brown, and C.A. Friis. 2012. Population estimates of North American Shorebirds, 2012. Wader Study Group Bulletin 119:178–194. Available from the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan website.
  • North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.
  • USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2015. Longevity records of North American Birds.

Range Map Help

Rock Sandpiper Range Map
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