Western Sandpiper at Bradford Beach, Milwaukee, WI. Photographs taken September 11, 2013.
Binomial name: Calidris mauri
Category: Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies
Description: Brown feathers on back with white underparts. Dark legs and bill.
Size: 5.5” – 6.7” long, 10.2” – 14.6” wingspan
Weight: 0.8 oz. – 1.2 oz.
Habitat: Coastal tundras, shorelines, and mudflats
Diet: Small insects such as flies and beetles as well as spiders, mollusks, and small crustaceans
Nesting: The male builds several nests out of grasses, leaves, and lichens pressed into a mud flat or shoreline. He will then sing to attract a mate, and she will choose the nest. Both parents will incubate the eggs. The typical clutch size is 3-5 eggs. The female may stay and help care for the chicks, or she may leave before the eggs hatch and the male will be the sole caretaker.
Notes: Western Sandpipers breed in Siberia and Alaska, although migration will take them down the West Coast to California. Very rarely are they seen as far east as the Midwest.