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Stilt Sandpiper

Silhouette SandpipersSandpipers
Stilt SandpiperCalidris himantopus
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Scolopacidae

Basic Description

An elegant shorebird perched on long, yellow-green legs, the Stilt Sandpiper is distinctive with its long, slightly curved bill. In breeding plumage, a bright chestnut crown and ear patch light up its neatly barred, brown-and-white plumage. Stilt Sandpipers forage in freshwater habitats and avoid the tidal mudflats used by so many sandpipers. They wade sometimes belly deep, probing for invertebrates in mud in a manner similar to the shorter-legged dowitchers. These long-distance migrants fly south through the middle of North America, then cross the Caribbean to winter in South America.

More ID Info
image of range map for Stilt Sandpiper
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for this arctic-breeding species during spring and fall migration. Its affinity for freshwater means it may be easier to find in the central parts of North America, in places such as Cheyenne Bottoms, Kansas, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, than on the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts. To find the species, look for places where both dowitchers and yellowlegs congregate, then look for the “in between”-looking Stilt Sandpiper, with its distinctively if subtly decurved bill.

Other Names

  • Correlimos Zancolín (Spanish)
  • Bécasseau à échasses (French)
  • Cool Facts