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Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus


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Stilt Sandpiper, adult in water
credit: Don Pancamo/CCSA

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Family: Scolopacidae, Sandpipers view all from this family

Description ADULT SUMMER Beautifully marked with chestnut on crown and ear coverts, broad pale supercilium, and otherwise dark-streaked face and neck. Underparts have distinct dark bars; feathers on back have dark centers. ADULT WINTER Has mainly gray upperparts and white underparts; note the pale supercilium. JUVENILE Similar to winter adult, but feathers on back have cleaner-looking pale margins.

Dimensions Length: 8 1/2" (22 cm)

Habitat Very common locally high Arctic breeding species, from northern Alaska to Hudson Bay. Common on Atlantic coast during fall migration. Winters mainly in Central and South America, but small numbers remain on Gulf coast.

Observation Tips Look for migrants in fall on coasts; breeding birds are easiest to see in Churchill, Manitoba.

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

Voice Mostly silent.

Discussion Elegant shorebird with long, yellowish legs; long bill is downcurved toward tip. In flight, note long, trailing legs, and white rump and upper tail. Usually feeds in deep water, probing mud in deliberate manner. Sexes are similar.