Fall Shorebirds of Seapoint


Least Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Plover

Baird's Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper



• Pectoral Sandpiper

• Purple Sandpiper

• Ruddy Turnstone

• Killdeer

• Black-bellied Plover

• Greater Yellowlegs

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White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis)

7.5" Length. Nonbreeding adults irregular and uncommon late August through October, we don't see the breeding adult plumage here in the fall. Juveniles becoming regular and frequent October and November, but not in numbers of more than a couple dozen.

Like the Baird's, White-rumped Sandpipers are another of the Calidris sandpipers with wingtips extending well beyond the tail. Adults are already in nonbreeding plumage when they pass through, juveniles arrive a month later. The juvees are also one of the prettier patterned of the sandpipers combining rufous with grey, brown, and white in a rich pattern on the back and wing feathers. Also helping to pick them out are well-defined breast streaks which extend into the flanks below the wings

Here are 3 juvees in different postures. Note the white lores at the base of the bill which is typical of juveniles in some sandpipers, and the flash of white-rump in the center bird.

In the pic of another juvenile below, you can just make out the hint of orange at the base of the lower bill, which may or may not be visible depending on the light. The long wings, streaked breast and flanks, whiter eyebrow stripe are more reliable field marks.

Below is an adult already in nonbreeding plumage, having begun molting before migration began, so we never see breading plumage adults in the fall. They have a cool grey appearance and the breast streaks extend well into the flanks. But the patterning in the wing and back feathers has none of the rufous scapulars that the juveniles sport. One thing about White-rumped Sandpipers is that they'll venture into deeper water than most other sandpipers. When a small wave chases other sandpipers back up the beach, White-rumps seem unperturbed, and occasionally will even swim.

Here's an adult in a crowd of smaller Semipalmated Sandpipers and slightly larger Sanderlings. Definitely the greyest bird in the bunch, and longest winged as well.

In flight the white rumps that give them their name are prominent, most other sandpipers will have a dark stripe going from the back down the middle of the rump into the center of the tail, leaving just the edges of the rump white.

Another adult White-rumped with two juvenile Sanderlings below. Note the two-toned lower bill which is a bit more prominent in the adults.

Below's a juvee with a larger Dunlin on the right. Their colors are somewhat similar but note the difference in size, and that the White-rump's bill is much shorter and straighter.

Next > Spotted Sandpiper

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