South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Semipalmated Sandpiper

Calidris pusilla

Length: 6.5 inches Wingspan: 12 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: Short straight bill with relatively blunt tip, black legs, upperparts grayer than similar Western Sandpiper.

Semipalmated Sandpiper - Calidris pusillaSemipalmated Sandpipers are named for the slight webbing between their toes.  One of the so-called "peeps" (tiny sandpipers), they are nonetheless champion long-distance migrants, often traveling for 2,000 miles non-stop from eastern North America to their wintering grounds in South America.

Habitat: Found on open mudflats and edges of shallow lakes and wetlands during migration through the state.

Diet: Feeds on a variety of small insects and crustaceans.  Will also feed on small mollusks, worms, and occasionally seeds.

Behavior: Primarily forages on mudflats, beaches, or very shallow water, walking along and searching for prey.  They will also occasionally probe in the mud with their bill.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: On its summer breeding grounds, gives a long, rolling trilling of ascending and descending tones.  The flight call is a short chirp.

Migration: Extremely long distance migrants, with summer breeding grounds in the Arctic, and its wintering grounds in South America.

Similar Species: Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper

Conservation Status: Numbers are generally stable.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Semipalmated Sandpiper

2) Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Semipalmated Sandpiper

3) eNature.com -- Semipalmated Sandpiper

Photo Information: May 14th, 2004 -- Madison Waterfowl Production Area -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Semipalmated Sandpiper photos.

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Semipalmated Sandpiper - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant in suitable habitat throughout the state.