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Purple Sandpiper

From Opus

Summer adultPhoto by ListaLista, Norway, May 2013
Summer adult
Photo by Lista
Lista, Norway, May 2013
Calidris maritima


[edit] Identification

Length: 20–22 cm, wingspan 40–44 cm, weight 55–105 g
The bill is thin and dark with a yellow base, and the legs are short and greenish-yellow in summer, yellow in winter.
Summer: dark grey-brown above and on breast, with brown fringes to scapular and mantle feathers
Winter: dark blackish-grey with a purple sheen on top, and white underneath. The breast is grey and the rump is black.
Juvenile: similar to adult summer.

[edit] Similar species

Winter adultPhoto by mjoblingNew Brighton Cheshire, England, February 2006
Winter adult
Photo by mjobling
New Brighton Cheshire, England, February 2006

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).

[edit] Distribution

Photo by GaukurJuvenile, Húsavík, NE Iceland July 2005
Photo by Gaukur
Juvenile, Húsavík, NE Iceland July 2005

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.

[edit] Taxonomy

Very closely related to Rock Sandpiper; in the past sometimes considered conspecific with it. Monotypic[1]. Purple Sandpiper is variable in size and bill length and four subspecies have been proposed in the past[2], 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[3].

[edit] Habitat

Tundra and rocky coastal areas.

[edit] Behaviour

They form small flocks on rocky shores in winter, often with Ruddy Turnstones.

[edit] Breeding

Photo by JBJVirginia, USA
Photo by JBJ
Virginia, USA

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.

[edit] Diet

The diet includes insects and molluscs, also some plant material.

[edit] Vocalisation

A low "weet-wit".

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[edit] References

  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Engelmoer, M., & Roselaar, C. S. (1998). Geographical variation in waders. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  3. Barisas, D. A. G., et al. (2015). A review of the subspecies status of the Icelandic Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima littoralis. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 175: 211–221.
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966

[edit] External Links


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