Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Dan Pancamo/Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

Stilt Sandpiper

Stilt Sandpiper
Calidris himantopus
Sandpiper-like Birds | Family: Sandpipers, Scolopacidae

An estimated 43% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

Often associated with dowitchers and yellowlegs, Stilt Sandpipers resemble both species and appear to be intermediate between the two. Yellowlegs move about continually in nervous, jerky motions, and dowitchers feed slowly, probing deep into the mud. Stilt Sandpipers move like yellowlegs but cover more ground, while feeding deliberately like dowitchers.

Description

8 1/2" (22 cm). A starling-sized sandpiper with long greenish legs and long bill, slightly down-curved at tip. Wings lack stripe. Breeding adult has chestnut head stripes and barring below. Nonbreeding birds have much paler plumage and a white line over the eye.

Voice

Simple tu-tu, similar to call of Lesser Yellowlegs.

Nesting

4 pale buff eggs, marked with brown, on open ground in a grass tussock near water.

Habitat

Grassy pools and shores of ponds and lakes.

Range/Migration

Breeds in northern Alaska and northern Canada east to Hudson Bay. Winters in small numbers in southern California's Salton Sea, Gulf Coast, and Florida.