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Least Sandpiper - Calidris minutilla

Baird's Sandpiper


 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Charadriiformes 
 Family: Scolopacidae 
 Genus:   Calidris

ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern


Least SandpiperThe least sandpiper is the smallest American shorebird. It is 5-6 inches in length with an 11 inch wingspan. It has a pointed black bill with a slight droop at the end; long, yellowish legs; a short neck; and a reddish brown back and wings marked with scalloped-shaped black markings edged in white. It has white undersides, a streaky brown breast, and a black line on its rump that runs into its tail. It has a thin white line that runs across its upper wings that is visible when it is in flight. In the winter, it is more gray than brown. Males and females look alike.


mapThe least sandpiper breeds from Alaska east to Newfoundland, Canada. It winters along the Pacific Coast from California south to South America and on the Atlantic Coast from New Jersey south to South America. It is also found in inland areas in the Southeast and the Southwest.



The least sandpiper is found on the tundra during breeding season and on bogs, marshes with open areas, flooded fields, mudflats, and sandy beaches in the winter.


Least SandpiperThe least sandpiper eats insects, larvae, small crustaceans, mollusks, marine worms, and some seeds. They walk with their heads down as they forage for food on the ground. Sometimes, they probe for food in the mud.

Life Cycle

Least SandpiperThe least sandpiper nests in colonies. The male arrives at the breeding grounds first and establishes a territory. The male and female least sandpiper make a scrape in the ground and line it with leaves, moss, and grass. The female usually lays four eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs for 19-25 days. The chicks are precocial and leave the nest and feed themselves a day after hatching. The male and the female care for the chicks, but the female leaves before the chicks fledge at three weeks old.


The least sandpiper is a relatively solitary bird and usually usually roosts by itself or in small groups.

Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Andrew Spencer cc logo