Wildlife Journal Junior!
New Hampshire PBS

Home       |       Wild Files       |       N.H. Animals       |       Animals A-Z       |       Watch Online

Pectoral Sandpiper - Calidris melanotos

Baird's Sandpiper


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

ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern



Pectoral SandpiperThe pectoral sandpiper is 9 inches in length with a 17 inch wingspan. It has a pointed bill with a slight droop at the end; long, yellowish or greenish legs; a medium-sized neck; and a reddish-brown back and wings marked with scalloped-shaped black markings edged in white. It has a dark stripe bordered by white down the middle of its tail that is visible when it is in flight. It has snowy white undersides and a streaky brown breast. Males and females look alike, but the male is a little larger.


mapThe pectoral sandpiper breeds in the Arctic regions of North America from Alaska east to the Hudson Bay. It migrates along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in the interior United States. It winters in South America.


The pectoral sandpiper breeds on the tundra. During migration it is found on freshwater and saltwater marshes, wet meadows, flooded fields, the shores of ponds, and grassy areas like golf courses and airports. It winters on the grasslands of South America.


Pectoral SandpiperThe pectoral sandpiper walks with its head down foraging for food on the ground. Sometimes it probes for food in the mud. During the breeding season, it eats flies, larvae, spiders, and seeds. During migration, it eats small crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates

Life Cycle

Pectoral SandpiperMale and female pectoral sandpipers may mate with more than one partner. The males arrive on the breeding ground first and establish a territory. The male tries to attract a female with a display flight. During the flight, he expands and contracts his throat sac and makes a series of hooting sounds!

Once the female has chosen a mate, she builds a scrape in a slightly raised grassy area on the ground and lines it with grass and leaves. The nest is usually hidden by vegetation or is made under a bush. The female lays four eggs and incubates them for 21-23 days. The chicks are precocial and can feed themselves shortly after hatching. The female stays with the chicks for 10-20 days. She usually leaves before they fledge at 21 days.


The pectoral sandpiper is a long-distance migrator. It travels as much as 9,000 miles each way to its breeding and wintering grounds.

Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Bernabe Lopez-Lanus cc logo