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Semipalmated Sandpiper

Silhouette SandpipersSandpipers
Semipalmated SandpiperCalidris pusilla
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Scolopacidae

Basic Description

Of the many small sandpipers known as "peeps," the Semipalmated Sandpiper is the most familiar species in eastern North America. Look for this tiny shorebird, barely bigger than a sparrow, at classic coastal migration spots as well as in reliable shorebird patches inland. These small but assertive sandpipers seem to be in constant movement, rapidly pecking for tiny prey on mudflats and endlessly chasing off other "semis" that attempt to feed near them. Their numbers have declined recently, landing the species on the Yellow Watch List.

More ID Info
image of range map for Semipalmated Sandpiper
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

In eastern and central U.S. and Canada, look for Semipalmated Sandpipers during spring and fall migration. Hundreds at a time stop over at traditional spots on coastal mudflats, where they spend days fattening up for the next leg of migration. Away from the coasts, look for them on wide-open wetlands or muddy edges. Storms often ground migrating shorebirds briefly, so check shortgrass fields, sod farms, and flooded farm fields after rains in April–May and July–September. In the West, Semipalmateds are scarce south of British Columbia.

Other Names

  • Correlimos Semipalmeado (Spanish)
  • Bécasseau semipalmé (French)
  • Cool Facts