Living Bird Magazine
Living Bird Magazine
White-rumped SandpiperCalidris fuscicollis
- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Scolopacidae
White-rumped Sandpipers are graceful, long-winged shorebirds, slightly larger than the more numerous “peep” sandpipers that they often forage with. Their breeding plumage is a sharp brown and white with rusty highlights and dark stippling on the breast. On their high arctic breeding grounds, males give an outlandish song accompanied by an elaborate flight display. In flight, the telltale white rump distinguishes it from all similar species. This small sandpiper makes one of the longest migrations of any North American bird, sometimes flying 2,500 miles without a rest.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Look for White-rumped Sandpipers during migration. Find a flock of feeding shorebirds and scan through it, looking for a bird slightly larger than a Semipalmated or Western Sandpiper, with long, tapered wings. Listen for the distinctive, squeaky call, often the first hint of the species’ presence. In flight, watch for a sandpiper with a white rump (actually the uppertail coverts); other peeps have a dark divider in the white.
- Correlimos Culiblanco (Spanish)
- Bécasseau à croupion blanc (French)
- Cool Facts
- The White-rumped Sandpiper actually has dark rump feathers. The white feathers at the base of the tail are the uppertail coverts, special feathers that cover the base of the stiff tail feathers.
- The White-rumped Sandpiper has one of the longest migration routes of any American bird, from arctic Canada to southern South America. Southbound migrants fly over the Atlantic Ocean, then gradually move southeast along the coast before turning inland to cross the Amazon basin. The trip takes about a month.
- Male White-rumped Sandpipers are generally indistinguishable from females except on the breeding grounds, where the larger throats of males are noticeable, even when they are not displaying. This large throat probably relates to the way in which the male’s unusual song is produced during display flights.
- The oldest recorded White-rumped Sandpiper was at least 7 years old. It was banded in Quebec in 1972 and found in Nunavut in 1978.