Baird's sandpiper

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Baird's sandpiper
Baird's sandpiper (Calidris bairdii) foraging for insects
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Calidris
C. bairdii
Binomial name
Calidris bairdii
(Coues, 1861)

Actodromas bairdii
Erolia bairdii

Baird's sandpiper (Calidris bairdii) is a small shorebird. It is among those calidrids which were formerly included in the genus Erolia, which was subsumed into the genus Calidris in 1973.[2] The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds. The English name and specific bairdii commemorate Spencer Fullerton Baird, 19th-century naturalist and assistant secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.[3]


Adults have black legs and a short, straight, thin dark bill. They are dark brown on top and mainly white underneath with a black patch on the rump. The head and breast are light brown with dark streaks. In winter plumage, this species is paler brownish gray above. This bird can be difficult to distinguish from other similar tiny shorebirds; these are known collectively as "peeps" or "stints".

One of the best identification features is the long wings, which extend beyond the tail when the bird is on the ground. Only the white-rumped sandpiper also shows this, and that bird can be distinguished by its namesake feature.

Standard Measurements[4][5]
length 180–190 mm (7–7.6 in)
weight 38 g (1.3 oz)
wingspan 430 mm (17 in)
wing 117.6–125.3 mm (4.63–4.93 in)
tail 50–57 mm (2.0–2.2 in)
culmen 20.5–24.5 mm (0.81–0.96 in)
tarsus 21.3–24.2 mm (0.84–0.95 in)


Chicks on the ground, camouflaged
Eggs in a nest

Baird's sandpipers breed in the northern tundra from eastern Siberia to western Greenland. They nest on the ground, usually in dry locations with low vegetation.

They are a long-distance migrant, wintering in South America. This species is a rare vagrant to western Europe.

Baird's sandpiper might have hybridized with the buff-breasted sandpiper.

These birds forage by moving about mudflats, picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects, also some small crustaceans.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2018). "Calidris bairdii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T22693404A129653281. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22693404A129653281.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ Ryser, Fred A. (1985). Birds of the Great Basin: A Natural History. Reno, NV, US: University of Nevada Press. p. 193. ISBN 0-87417-080-X.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 66, 84. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ Godfrey, W. Earl (1966). The Birds of Canada. Ottawa: National Museum of Canada. p. 154.
  5. ^ Sibley, David Allen (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf. p. 185. ISBN 0-679-45122-6.

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