Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii


The Baird’s Sandpiper is an amazing bird, and you would never know it from looking at its rather unremarkable brownish plumage. It is a small Calidris, subjectively classed as a “peep” one of our smaller shorebirds. However, it is among the most accomplished of our New World migrants, with most heading south to southern Chile and Argentina, although some winter farther north in the Andes. During breeding it accomplishes an amazing feat, at least the female does, she lays four eggs in four days that add up to 120% of her body weight! The physiological feat involved is unfathomable, particularly immediately after a return trip from Patagonia! In South America it overlaps broadly with wintering White-rumped Sandpipers (Calidris fuscicollis) in Patagonia, but the wintering range of the Baird’s is skewed to the west, and on the Pacific coast in Chile it is the expected peep, while White-rumped is absent. Curiously, Baird’s are also fond of high elevations and are one of the few shorebirds regularly found wintering even above 4000m in elevation in the Altiplano. Overall the Baird’s Sandpiper does best in moist grassy habitats in winter.

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© Leonard J. Peyton

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Baird's Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: