Bairds Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii)

Bairds Sandpiper

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Calidris bairdii | [UK] Bairds Sandpiper | [FR] Becasseau de Baird | [DE] Baird-Strandlaufer | [ES] Correlimos de Baird | [NL] Bairds Strandloper


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Baird’s Sandpipers are brown shorebirds with black legs and very long wings. Their medium-length bills are fine-tipped and straight. Adults in breeding plumage are light brown, and have black spots on their wings. Non-breeding adults are gray-brown, and lack spots. The juvenile, the most common form found in Washington, is brown with white-edged feathers that give it a scaly appearance. In flight, it shows white wing-stripes and a dark line down the middle of its tail, with white on either sides of the rump.

Listen to the sound of Bairds Sandpiper

[audio: Sandpiper.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 38 cm wingspan max.: 41 cm
size min.: 19 cm size max.: 20 cm
incubation min.: 20 days incubation max.: 22 days
fledging min.: 16 days fledging max.: 22 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 4  


North America : North


Breeding habitat is dry upland tundra. During migration, Baird’s Sandpipers can be found along sandy shores and sometimes mudflats. They prefer higher, drier habitat than most other small sandpipers. They are also likely to be found in alpine areas, at high-elevation lakes, or even on snow banks. Wintering grounds are southern South American grasslands.
Baird’s Sandpipers are generally found individually or in small flocks. Flock size can be greater mid-continent where they are more common. Baird’s Sandpipers typically forage along the upper edge of mudflats, or up on sandy beaches, often in vegetation. They will sometimes forage in the water, but not regularly. Birds in the mountains will feed on snow banks. They move quickly with heads up, picking up surface prey


The nest is located on the ground among rocks and perhaps in low ground cover, sometimes well hidden in a grass clump. The male builds most of the nest, which is a shallow scrape lined with lichen, grass, and leaves. Both parents help incubate the four eggs for 19 to 22 days. The young leave the nest soon after hatching and feed themselves. Both parents brood and tend the young at first, but the female usually abandons the brood before they fledge. The male stays with the brood until they begin to fly, at 16 to 20 days.

Feeding habits

Baird’s Sandpipers are primarily insect-eaters


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Bairds Sandpiper status Least Concern


Migratory. Many migrate inland, across North American prairies, Rockies and N Andes, often staging at high altitude lakes. Funnel through Canada W of Hudson Bay, then stopover in prairies of S Canada and N USA, especially Cheyenne Bottoms (Kansas), whereafter non-stop journey to Andes by mid-Aug, bypassing Central America off W coast. Adults depart early Jul, females slightly preceeding males; juveniles migrate later from breeding grounds, from late Jul, in more leisurely fashion, and over broader front, from Pacific states to Atlantic; unlike adults, many juveniles move into SW USA; juveniles reach Patagonia mainly early Oct. N migration largely along same route.

Distribution map

Bairds Sandpiper distribution range map

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