Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Calidris subruficollis




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White, buff or olive with brown blotches.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

19 - 21

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Pile of vegetation lined with grasses or moss.





Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Medium-sized sandpiper with buff wash over entire body except for white vent. Upperparts are black-spotted and streaked, while underparts are slightly scaled; shows bright white wing linings in flight. Upperwing has buff-colored bar. Species also has white eye ring and short, black bill. Legs are olive-yellow to bright yellow. Sexes have similar plumage, but males are generally larger. Juvenile is similar, but has paler underparts, especially near the vent; more narrow fringes and a dark sub-terminal line to feathers of upperparts.

Range and Habitat

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Breeds in extreme northern Alaska and western Canadian Arctic regions, migrating through the Midwest and occurring rarely on the Atlantic or Pacific coasts. Preferred habitats include grasslands and prairies, plowed fields, turf farms, wet rice fields; nests on Arctic tundra.

Breeding and Nesting

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: After mating, male and female Sandpipers do not form pairs. The female builds a nest and incubates the eggs by herself. Four white, buff, or olive eggs with brown blotches are laid on the ground in a small cup of vegetation lined with grass or moss. Incubation ranges from 19 to 21 days. The young fledge at about 21 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: The diet of these sandpipers includes plant seeds and terrestrial invertebrates such as spiders and insect adults, larvae and pupae. Copepods, crane-flies and gammarid crustaceans are consumed in the fall. They usually forage on the ground in grassy fields; they rarely forage beside water.


Buff-breasted Sandpiper: During migration, utters a soft hoarse call "pr-r-r-reet." During courtship makes quick clucking sounds.

Similar Species

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Upland Sandpiper and juvenile Ruff have marked underparts and lack white wing linings in flight.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Eye ringX
The circle around the eye formed of feathers that are a different color from the rest of the face.
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X