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Length: 20â€“22 cm, wingspan 40â€“44 cm, weight 55â€“105 g
 Similar species
Apart from Rock Sandpiper, the only small dark wader with yellow legs likely to be seen on a rocky shore. Outside of adult summer plumage, Rock Sandpiper can only be distinguished by distribution (Pacific coasts, versus Atlantic for Purple).
Breeds on the arctic and arctic-alpine tundra of northern Europe (Iceland, Scandinavia), extreme northwestern Asia (east to Severnaya Zemlya), Greenland, and northeastern Canada. Winters on the Atlantic coasts of Europe and the USA, occasionally straying as far south as northern Spain and the Gulf Coast.
Very closely related to Rock Sandpiper; in the past sometimes considered conspecific with it. Monotypic. Purple Sandpiper is variable in size and bill length and four subspecies have been proposed in the past, C. m. maritima (Scandinavia, Russia, arctic Canada), C. m. groenlandica (Greenland), C. m. littoralis (Iceland), and C. m. belcheri (Hudson Bay, Canada), but genetic analysis showed they have minimal differentiation and intergrade extensively.
Tundra and rocky coastal areas.
They form small flocks on rocky shores in winter, often with Ruddy Turnstones.
The male makes several scrapes in the ground and the female chooses one, and lays 3-4 eggs. The male incubates and cares for the chicks.
The diet includes insects and molluscs, also some plant material.
A low "weet-wit".
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