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Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii


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Baird's Sandpiper
credit: FWS

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Family: Scolopacidae, Sandpipers view all from this family

Description ADULT SUMMER Has gray-brown, almost silvery looking, upperparts with dark centers to some back feathers. Neck and chest are streaked, but underparts are otherwise white. ADULT winter Has grayish upperparts and white underparts. JUVENILE Has scaly-looking back (feathers have dark centers and pale margins) and buffy wash to face, neck, and chest; note the fairly well-defined pectoral cut-off between streaked brown chest and otherwise white underparts. Indistinct pale supercilium is most obvious in front of eye.

Dimensions Length: 7 1/2" (19 cm)

Habitat Common breeding species on dry tundra in high Arctic. Most birds have an inland migration route across the plains, and pause only briefly before flying to South America where they winter. Consequently, for such a relatively common breeding species, it is tricky to find on migration.

Observation Tips Migrants often favor dry, short grassland and the best chances for observation come by searching suitable habitats on Gulf coast, Apr-May and Aug-Sep. Juveniles occasionally turn up on East Coast in fall, usually favoring short grass habitats but sometimes the margins of drying pools and mudflats.

Range Eastern Canada, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Alaska, Great Lakes, Southwest, New England, Northwest, Western Canada, Texas, Southeast, California, Plains, Rocky Mountains

Voice A trilling prrrp.

Discussion Another long-distance migrant shorebird whose wings extend beyond its tail at rest. This feature gives it a "long-bodied" appearance and allows for confusion with White-rumped Sandpiper. Distinguished from this species by the absence of a white rump, but note also the uniformly dark, tapering, and straight bill (no orange base to lower mandible). Sexes are similar.