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Stilt Sandpiper

Calidris himantopus ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: SCOLOPACIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

In its boldly barred breeding plumage, the Stilt Sandpiper is easily identified. In its gray nonbreeding plumage, it is much less distinctive and appears to be intermediate between a yellowlegs and a dowitcher.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
7.9–9.1 in
20–23 cm
Weight
1.8–2.5 oz
50–70 g
Other Names
  • Becasseau à èchasses (French)
  • Playero pato largo (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The main southward migration route of the Stilt Sandpiper passes through the middle of the continent, west of the Mississippi River. From here, in fall the species migrates over water to the Caribbean or northern South America, where many birds interrupt their migration to molt flight feathers before continuing to winter haunts in inland central South America.
  • The oldest recorded Stilt Sandpiper was at least 11 years, 1 month old, when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Texas.

Habitat


Marsh

Breeds in sedge tundra near water, often near wooded borders of the taiga. On migration and in winter found along mudflats, flooded fields, shallow ponds and pools, and marshes.

Food


Insects

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–5 eggs
Condition at Hatching
Active and covered with down.
Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Probing

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

There is little information on Stilt Sandpiper population trends. A 2012 study notes that counts have been variable, but estimates a North American population of 1.2 million birds. Numbers may be stable to declining. The species is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. An overpopulation of Snow Geese on the tundra may cause degradation of the Stilt Sandpiper's breeding environment.

Credits

  • Klima, J., and J. R. Jehl, Jr. 1998. Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus). In The Birds of North America, No. 341 (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.

Range Map Help

Stilt Sandpiper Range Map
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