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
Global range     Year-Round Range     Summer Range     Winter Range

The buff-breasted sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) is a small shorebird. It is a calidrid sandpiper and currently considered to be the only member of the genus Tryngites. Indeed, it probably belongs in the genus Calidris itself, or more precisely with the small species thereof that should be split into a distinct genus.[2] Depending on whether this would include the curlew sandpiper or not, the name Erolia would or would not, respectively, apply.


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.

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 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.[3] They will either eat the bees or feed them to their young.[3] They are often very tame.

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

Distribution 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 2011, November this species was sighted near Kannur, Kerala in South India.[4] The buff-breasted sandpiper has also been recorded from Australia on at least eight occasions.[5]


  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. ^ Thomas, Gavin H.; Wills, Matthew A. & Székely, Tamás (2004). A supertree approach to shorebird phylogeny. BMC Evol. Biol. 4: 28. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-4-28 PMID 15329156 PDF fulltext Supplementary Material
  3. ^ a b "The Arctic Bumblebee". www.fs.fed.us. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  4. ^ http://www.migrantwatch.in/blog/2011/11/26/north-american-sandpiper-in-kerala/
  5. ^ http://www.tonypalliser.com/barc/vol1.htm
  • Hayman, Peter; Marchant, John & Prater, Tony (1986). Shorebirds: an identification guide to the waders of the world. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. ISBN 0-395-60237-8

External links[edit]