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Baird's Sandpiper

Calidris bairdii

Length: 7.5 inches Wingspan: 16 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: Long wingtips extending beyond tail,  brown wash across chest

Baird's Sandpiper - Calidris bairdiiThe Baird's Sandpiper is a common migrant in South Dakota in both the spring and the fall.  They are one of a very few shorebirds who will stop at high mountain lakes during migration.  Unlike many other small sandpipers, they feed by picking items from the mud or water's surface, rather than by probing into the mud.

Habitat: Small pools, shorelines, mudflats, and fields.  Can often be found in drier habitat during migration than some other small sandpipers.

Diet: Not well known, but primarily insects, along with spiders and other invertebrates.  Will also take amphipods and other small crustaceans.  

Behavior: Actively walks along the shoreline or in shallow water, picking food items from the surface of the water or the ground.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota.  In their breeding range, the nest of a Baird's Sandpiper is a depression on the ground, lined with grasses and leaves.  The female usually lays 4 eggs, and she alone incubates them.  The young leave the nest soon after hatching and find their own food, but the female stays with them and protects them until fledging.  The young fledge at about 3 weeks.

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an itneractive eBird map of Baird's Sandpiper sightings

Song: A low krrrrt.

Migration: Summers in the Arctic, winters in South America.  Unlike many shorebirds which migrate north through the Great Plains but migrate south in the fall along the Atlantic Coast or elsewhere, Baird's Sandpipers are common migrants through South Dakota in both spring and fall.

Similar Species: White-rumped Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper

Conservation Status: Generally stable.  They have a broad breeding range and are common in some parts of their range.  The IUCN lists the Baird's Sandpiper as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Baird's Sandpiper

2) WhatBird - Baird's Sandpiper

3) Audubon Guide - Baird's Sandpiper

Photo Information: July 29th, 2007 - Lake Thompson, Kingsbury County, South Dakota - Terry Sohl

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


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Baird's Sandpiper - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant throughout the state.

Additional Baird's Sandpiper Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
 Baird's Sandpiper - Calidris bairdiiBaird's Sandpiper - Calidris bairdiiBaird's Sandpiper - Calidris bairdiiBaird's Sandpiper - Calidris bairdiiBaird's Sandpiper - Calidris bairdii