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Baird's Sandpiper - Calidris bairdii






 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Charadriiformes 
 Family: Scolopacidae 
 Genus:  Calidris
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least Concern Least Concern


bairdssandpiperBaird's sandpiper is a small shorebird 6-7 inches in length with a 14-15 inch wingspan. It has a medium-sized, straight, thin bill; a short neck; a round head; long black legs; and wings that extend beyond its tail. It is white on its undersides and lightly marked with grayish-brown on its neck and breast. It has scallop-shaped brown and black markings edged with white on its back and wings and white wing-stripes that are visible when it is in flight. Males and females look alike.


mapBaird's sandpiper breeds in the arctic regions of Alaska and Canada. It migrates through the Great Plains and winters in South America. During migration, it often gathers in flocks in the Great Plains and then flies non-stop, sometimes traveling as far as 4,000 miles, to South America. In the fall, small numbers of Baird's sandpipers can be found on the Atlantic Coast, including in New Hampshire. Baird's sandpiper is also found in the arctic regions of Greenland and Siberia.


bairdssandpiperBaird's sandpiper breeds on the tundra. During migration and in the winter, it is found on mudflats, sandy beaches, estuaries, marshes, and lake and river shores.



Baird's sandpiper eats larvae, beetles, grasshoppers, and spiders. It feeds mostly on land, but it sometimes feeds in shallow water.

Life Cycle

bairdssandpiperThe male builds a shallow scrape lined with lichen, grass, and leaves among the rocks or in a clump of vegetation. The female Baird's sandpiper lays 4 spotted brown eggs.

Bairds sandpiperBoth parents incubate the eggs for 21-22 days. The chicks are precocial and leave the nest and feed themselves shortly after hatching. The male and female both care for the chicks, but the female usually leaves them to begin her migration. The male stays with them until they fledge at 16-21 days old.

Fun Fact

Bairds sandpiperBaird's sandpiper's is named for Spencer Fullerton Baird who was a professor of natural sciences and the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. He also headed the Bureau of Fisheries which later became the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Sjoerd Meyer cc logo