The Western Sandpiper is a
very close relative of the Semipalmated
Sandpiper, and the two can be very difficult to differentiate between.
While many can be found on both U.S. coastlines during the winter, they also
migrate southward as far as southern South America. Massive
flocks can be found in key migration stopover sites along the West Coast in the
Habitat: On summer breeding grounds, prefers
tundra slopes with a low brush and nearby wetlands. In migration and
winter, they can be found on mudflats, sandy beaches, and tidal estuaries.
Diet: Primarily east insects, spiders, and
small crustaceans on its summer breeding grounds. In winter and in
migration, diet varies by location, but may include amphipods, small crustaceans
and mollusks, marine worms, insects, and seeds.
Behavior: Forages in shallow water, sandy beaches,
or mudflats, walking along and probing in the mud for food, or picking food
items directly from the surface.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Song: Thin cheet.
Migration: Breeds in Alaska and western Siberia. Winters
on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North and South America.
Conservation Status: Generally abundant, but
vulnerable to declines from habitat loss due to its preference for a few key
stopover points during migration.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Western Sandpiper
-- Western Sandpiper
Photo Information: Photo courtesy of George