Stilt Sandpiper

Calidris himantopus




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Cream, pale green or olive green with brown spots.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

19 - 21

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:






Stilt Sandpiper: A medium-sized sandpiper with gray-brown upperparts, white rump and heavily barred white underparts. Head has dark cap, white eyebrows; brown ear patches. Bill is long, black and curved down at tip; long gray-green legs. Sexes are similar. Female has slightly larger wings and bill. Juvenile has dark brown upperparts; wing coverts are more gray with buff fringes; breast and foreneck are buff; white belly. Winter adult has dull gray upperparts, distinct white eyebrows and white underparts with faint bars on breast and sides.

Range and Habitat

Stilt Sandpiper: Breeds from northeastern Alaska to northeastern Manitoba and northernmost Ontario. Spends winters in South America and casually north to Florida and southern California. Preferred habitats include sedge meadows interrupted by old beach ridges, eskers, or other elevated areas dominated by dwarf birch, heaths, willows, crowberries, and dryads.

Breeding and Nesting

Stilt Sandpiper: Four cream, pale green or olive eggs spotted with brown are laid in a ground nest made of grass and built in a relatively open area on dry tundra; occasionally nests next to a shrub. Incubation ranges from 19 to 21 days and is carried out by both parents. Young fly at 17 to 18 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Stilt Sandpiper: These sandpipers usually feed alone or in small groups. They forage by probing in soft mud on mudflats or while wading in shallow water. Prey may also be taken from the water’s surface or sometimes from dry land, and includes a variety of invertebrates, particularly adult and larval insects, as well as small snails and small seeds.


Stilt Sandpiper: Usually silent; call is a low, hoarse "querp."

Similar Species

Stilt Sandpiper: Curlew Sandpiper and Dunlin have dark legs and thinner bills; Dunlin also has dark rump.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
The area on top of the head of the bird.
Also called the jugulum or throat patch, it is located on the front of the neck.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Wing covertsX
The feathers that cover and protect the flight feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X