Buff-breasted sandpiper

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Buff-breasted sandpiper
Tryngites subruficollis -USA-8.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Tryngites (disputed)
Cabanis, 1857
Species: T. subruficollis
Binomial name
Tryngites subruficollis
(Vieillot, 1819)
Buff-Breasted Sandpiper Range.png
Range of T. subruficollis      Year-Round Range     Summer Range     Winter Range

The buff-breasted sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) is a small shorebird. Tryngites is from Ancient Greek trungas, a white-rumped wading bird mentioned by Aristotle but not further identified. The species name subruficollis is from Latin sub, "near to" and collum, "neck".[2] It is a calidrid sandpiper and currently considered to be the only member of the genus Tryngites. It may belong in the genus Calidris itself, or more precisely with the small species thereof that could possibly be split into a distinct genus. Depending on whether this would include the curlew sandpiper or not, the name Erolia would or would not, respectively, apply.[3]


This species is brown above, and has a buff face and underparts in all plumages. It has a short bill and yellow legs. Males are larger than females. Juveniles resemble the adults, but may be paler on the rear underparts.

Standard Measurements[4][5]
length 190–230 mm (7.5–8.9 in)
weight 63 g (2.2 oz)
wingspan 460 mm (18 in)
wing 128.2–138.7 mm (5.05–5.46 in)
tail 56.8–61.4 mm (2.24–2.42 in)
culmen 19.9–21.3 mm (0.78–0.84 in)
tarsus 31.8–34 mm (1.25–1.34 in)

Distribution and habitat[edit]


T. subruficollis breeds in the open arctic tundra of North America and is a very long-distance migrant, spending the non-breeding season mainly in South America, especially Argentina.

It migrates mainly through central North America, and is uncommon on the coasts. It occurs as a regular wanderer to western Europe, and is not classed as rare in Great Britain or Ireland, where small flocks have occurred. Only the pectoral sandpiper is a more common American shorebird visitor to Europe.

This species nests as far north as Canada including Alaska[6]on the ground, laying four eggs. The male has a display which includes raising the wings to display the white undersides, which is also given on migration, sometimes when no other buff-breasted sandpipers are present. Outside the breeding season, this bird is normally found on short-grass habitats such as airfields or golf-courses, rather than near water.

These birds pick up food by sight, mainly eating insects and other invertebrates. The buff-breasted sandpipers are known to predate on Bombus polaris, a species of honeybee found within the Arctic Circle.[7] They will either eat the bees or feed them to their young.[7] They are often very tame.

Buff-breasted sandpipers are suspected to have hybridized with the white-rumped or Baird's sandpiper.

In South Asia and Australia[edit]

This species has been sighted in South Asia on at least three occasions. It is believed that instead of going to Argentina, this bird might have been wind-blown from the Great Plains Flyway of North America and landed up in South Asia. In November 2011, this species was sighted near Kannur, Kerala in South India.[8] The buff-breasted sandpiper has also been recorded from Australia on at least eight occasions.[9]

In 1978, Phillips recorded the species from Sri Lanka, and after that very few sightings were recorded.[10]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Tryngites subruficollis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 372, 391. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
  3. ^ Thomas, Gavin H.; Wills, Matthew A.; Székely, Tamás (2004). "A supertree approach to shorebird phylogeny". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 4: 28. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-4-28. PMC 515296Freely accessible. PMID 15329156.  Supplementary Material[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Godfrey, W. Earl (1966). The Birds of Canada. Ottawa: National Museum of Canada. p. 161. 
  5. ^ Sibley, David Allen (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf. p. 192. ISBN 0-679-45122-6. 
  6. ^ Attenborough, D. 1998. The Life of Birds. p.206 - 208. BBC. ISBN 0563-38792-0
  7. ^ a b Statman-Weil, Zoe; Wojcik, Vicki. "The Arctic Bumblebee". www.fs.fed.us. USDA. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  8. ^ Thomas, Jayan (26 November 2011). "North American Sandpiper in Kerala". migrantwatch.in. 
  9. ^ "Decisions reached by BARC (The BirdLife Australia Rarities Committee)". 
  10. ^ {{Cite web In 2001 a single bird was also recorded in Marievale South Africa |url=http://indianbirds.in/pdfs/IB7.5_Rajeevan_Thomas_BuffbreastedSandpiper.pdf |title=Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis from northern Kerala : a third record for India |last=Rajeevan |first=P. C. |last2=Thomas |first2=Jayan |website=Indian Birds}}

External links[edit]