South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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White-rumped Sandpiper

Calidris fuscicollis

Length: 7.25 inches Wingspan: 14.5 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: White rump (visible in flight).  Also black legs, fine streaks on breast and sides, wingtips extending beyond tail.

White-rumped Sandpiper - Calidris fuscicollisThe White-rumped Sandpiper is a fairly plain sandpiper, somewhat difficult to differentiate from other similarly sized sandpipers, until it takes flight and the white rump becomes obvious.  The White-rumped Sandpiper is a very long-distance migrant, summering in the Arctic and wintering as far south as the outer islands of Antarctica.  They migrate through in large groups, often stopping at select, traditional locations, making them potentially vulnerable to habitat loss along the migration route.

Habitat: During migration, found in mudflats, flooded fields, shallow marshes, beaches, sandbars, and other similar habitats.  Breeds on low grassy tundra in and around the Arctic. 

Diet: Insect and insect larvae, marine worms, mollusks, crustaceans, leaches, seeds, and other vegetation.

Behavior: Forages on mudflats by probing in the mud or shallow water, or plucking food items from the mud or water's surface.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: High-pitched, squeaky jeeet. 

Migration: Extremely long-distance migrant, summering in and near the Arctic, and wintering in southern South America.  Many make non-stop flights in the fall from eastern Canada to northern South America.

Similar Species: Western Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper

Conservation Status: Vulnerable to habitat loss in its migration path, but generally stable.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, White-rumped Sandpiper

2) Cornell Lab of Ornithology - White-rumped Sandpiper

3) - White-rumped Sandpiper

Photo Information: May 20th, 2005 - Lake Thompson in South Dakota - Terry Sohl

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


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
White-rumped Sandpiper - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common spring migrant in the eastern part of the state, rare in the far west.  Rare fall migrant, primarily in the northeastern part of the state.