Pectoral Sandpiper

Silhouette SandpipersSandpipers

Pectoral Sandpiper

Calidris melanotos
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Scolopacidae
Basic Description

The Pectoral Sandpiper is among the most recognizable of small shorebirds, larger than the small “peep” sandpipers and sporting a distinctively stippled breast that ends neatly at a white belly. On their tundra breeding grounds, males perform an unforgettable display flight in which they inflate and deflate an air sac in the breast to create low-pitched hooting sounds. Like many shorebirds, Pectoral Sandpiper populations are declining, and this species is on the Partners in Flight Yellow Watch List.

More ID Info
image of range map for Pectoral SandpiperRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Pectoral Sandpipers are fairly common migrants eastern half of North America during migration—particularly in fall, when records span July through October and often later. Look for their heads poking up from grassy habitats such as marshy edges and wet meadows. They can be hard to see here but are generally more numerous than out on open mudflats. Also listen for their low call, usually given in flight, which is very distinctive.

Other Names
  • Correlimos Pectoral (Spanish)
  • Bécasseau à poitrine cendrée (French)
  • Cool Facts