Pectoral Sandpiper

Calidris melanotos




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White to olive buff blotched with dark brown.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

21 - 23

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground, near water.

Nest Material:

Leaves and grasses.





Pectoral Sandpiper: Medium-sized sandpiper with scaled, dark brown upperparts; heavily streaked brown breast and plain white belly and eye ring. Crown is dark brown; neck, face, breast and upper flanks are streaked; legs are yellow, green or brown. Faint wing bar and black rump with white edges are visible in flight. Sexes are similar. Female is smaller with a paler breast. Juvenile has pale buff heavily streaked breast; upperparts have paler, narrower fringes that make a V across the mantle and scapulars.

Range and Habitat

Pectoral Sandpiper: Breeds on arctic tundra from western Alaska across extreme northern Canada to the Hudson Bay; also found in Siberia. Spends winters in South America and Australia. During migration, may occur throughout North and Central Americas. Preferred habitats include marshes and grassy pools.

Breeding and Nesting

Pectoral Sandpiper: Four white to olive buff eggs blotched with dark brown are laid in a cup of grass and leaves hidden on the ground. Female incubates the eggs for 21 to 23 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Pectoral Sandpiper: Their diet includes freshwater, marine and terrestrial invertebrates, and occasionally seeds and algae. They probe, jab and peck items from the substrate, often while walking slowly. They probe by inserting the entire length of their bill and jab to locate prey, presumably on the basis of tactile senses; they peck at surface-active prey using visual cues.


Pectoral Sandpiper: Call is a rich, low "churrrt", "krrrek", or "tik-tik-tik". The male uses an inflatable air sac to vocalize during courtship displays.

Similar Species

Pectoral Sandpiper: Baird's Sandpiper is smaller, has darker bill, and less distinct breast band.

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 crown is the top part of the birds head.
Eye ringX
The circle around the eye formed of feathers that are a different color from the rest of the face.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
The upper surface of the back and wings covered with shorter feathers.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Short feathers in the area where the bird’s back and wings join.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X