Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
  Contents
  Index
WORLD BIRDS
  Contents
  Index

ANECDOTES

  Western Sandpiper
 
 

BACK - NEXT

 

Species Acct.
Loons
Grebes
Procellarids
Pelicans
Herons
Ibises
Storks
Vultures
Flamingos
Waterfowl
Raptors
Turkeys
Quail
Rails
Limpkin
Cranes
Shorebirds
Gulls
Terns
Auks
Doves
Parrots
Cuckoos
Owls
Goatsuckers
Swifts
Hummers
Kingfishers
Woodpckrs
Flycatchers
Shrikes
Vireos
Crows/Jays
Larks
Swallows
Tits
Nuthatches
Creepers
Wrens
Kinglets
Gnatcatchers
Thrushes
Mimids
Starlings
Pipits
Waxwings
NW Warblers
Tanagers
NWSparrows
Cardinalines
Icterids
Finches
OWSparrows

TOP

     
View More Pictures
  Order Charadriiformes - Plovers, Sandpipers, Gulls, Terns, Auks
   Family Scolopacidae - "Sandpipers"
      Tribe Calidridinae - Calidrines

  Charadriiforms are a diverse group of shore and aquatic or wading or terrestrial birds. They include the sandgrouse, shore birds, gulls and terns, and alcids. The majority breed in the Northern Hemisphere.
   The Tree of Life includes shorebirds with the Ciconiiformes.
Sandpipers are a diverse group of shorebirds with bills not swollen at the tip. Most live in association with water. Short-billed forms feed on the surface using vision. Long-billed forms probe in mud and their prey is located by touch or smell. Tides influence their feeding cycles.   
Calidrine Sandpipers include species in Aphriza, Calidris, Euynorhynchus, Limicola, Philomachus, and Tryngites. The smaller calidrines are often referred to as "peeps" or stints. Most species are small and identifications can be difficult. They feed along the shore and mudflats or in shallow water. Most undergo long migrations, breeding in the Arctic and wintering south to South America.
   
     
  Western Sandpiper, Calidris mauri
 
Cornell     USGS     Wiki     ToL     EoLL
        YEAR ROUND (especially migration) - Common fall, Uncommon spring-summer,
               Abundant winter
          MUD FLATS, LAGOON
MORE PICTURES
Western Sandpiper
 
   The Western Sandpiper is smaller than the Sanderling. It has long, dark legs and a relatively long bill that may (not always) have a slight droop toward the thin tip. Its head usually looks slightly too large for the body. As breeding approaches, they add some pale rufous on the crown, behind the eyes and in the scapulars (above the wing). Winter peeps with dark legs on our beaches and mudflats are almost certainly Western Sandpipers. In May-early June and late July-August the very similar Semipalmated Sandpiper may be present and will be difficult to distinguish (see Peeps).
   Western Sandpipers often form large groups on our beach and amid the dunes. On windy days they may huddle together in depressions facing the wind.
     
Western Sandpiper. North Beach
   
  RANGE: The Western Sandpiper breeds along the coast of Alaska north of the Aleutians. They winter along both coasts and to northern Peru and Surinam. They also breed in eastern Siberia but winter in the New World.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. One brood. The nest is usually placed under a low shrub or clump of grass in hilly, sedge-dwarf tundra. It is a shallow depression lined with sedges, lichens, and leaves. The male may make several scrapes and the female picks one. Females lay 4 (3-4) eggs which both sexes incubate for ~ 21 (20-22) days. Initially the female incubates from late afternoon, overnight to mid-morning, the male only during midday. As incubation proceeds, the male takes on a larger role and the female may leave even before the eggs hatch. Development is precocial and the young leave the nest within hours of hatching. Sometimes both parents care for the young but the female usually deserts after a few days. They can fly after 17-21 days .
   Western Sandpipers breed In large, densely packed breeding colonies spread across the tundra. The Western Sandpiper occupies drier areas than the Semipalmated Sandpiper. Adults depart in midsummer and the young 2-3 weeks later. The western migrates in a series of shorter flights without the long over-water flights some senipalms undertake.
  DIET: Western Sandpipers feed on small aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks and marine worms. During breeding they eat mostly flies and beetles plus spiders and small crustaceans. Inland migrants concentrate on insects and some seeds. Along the coast they eat many amphipods and other invertebrates including insects. They forage by walking in shallow water or on mud. They usually feed visually but may also probe in the substrate for food. 
  VOICE: Their call is a thin, high, "cheet." Feeding flocks emit a constant chatter of quiet notes.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Seabrook. Kiawah - common fall through spring, uncommon summer.
      Coastal - common winter visitor. Hilton Head - common winter visitor. Cape Romain - common/uncommon/common/common.
         Huntington Beach
- common May; rare June; uncommon July; common August - October; uncommon November - April.
      Caw Caw - fairly common/uncommon/fairly common/uncommon. ACE - common/uncommon/common/common.
   CBC: ACE 43, 14, 20, 4, 100, 2, 30, 62; Charleston 37, 320, 43, 167, 458, 220, 50, 21;
            St, Helena/Fripp x, x, x, x, x, x, 461, 395; Hilton Head 866, 1099, 2207, 358, 1302, 1877, 1659, 663;
               Sun City/Okatie 303, 196, 200, 4, 380, 0, 64, 30;
            McClellanville 20, 18, 38, 174, nc, 9, 42, 31; Winyah Bay x, x, 18, 596, 35, 69, 74, 247; Litchfield/Pawley's 69, 20, 235, 17., 39, 6, 48, 6.
   P&G: Common fall, abundant winter, uncommon spring-summer. Maximum 6,051, Awendaw/Cape Romain, 27 December 1969.
   Avendex: 5 records (maximum above). May-June, December.
   Potter: Found along the coast throughout the year. Common to abundant in fall migration but much less common in spring. They winter in good numbers from Charleston southward. They may visit temporary rainwater puddles along with Least Sandpipers.
  ●  Western Sandpipers are common on Seabrook and are the only dark-legged small peep found here in winter. There are more individuals around during migration. They frequent quiet waters (not the high energy beach), especially the lagoon, river, inlet, and their mudflats. They sometimes hunker down in depressions (and foot prints left by the horses) facing the wind, and rest.
       
    Banner - a lone Western Sandpiper seeking refuge amid drift, North Beach.
       
NEXT
 

KEY:    ■ Seabrook list     □ Kiawah list