Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Least Concern

Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)


French: Bécasseau minuscule German: Wiesenstrandläufer Spanish: Correlimos menudillo

Tringa minutilla


, 1819,

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


Formerly placed in genus Erolia. In past, sometimes considered conspecific with C. subminuta. Monotypic.


E Aleutians and Alaska through NW & NC Canada to Quebec, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Winters from Oregon and New Jersey through S USA, Middle America and West Indies to N Chile and CE Brazil; regularly reaches Galapagos Is#R, rarely Hawaiian Is#R.

Descriptive notes

13–15 cm; male 15–36 g, female 20–33 g; wingspan 33–35 cm. Smallest of all shorebirds, with needle-like bill; dark brown upperparts with chestnut and grey... read more


Several calls and songs used during breeding season, with unpaired males having three main types of... read more


Breeds from subarctic tundra to far N boreal forest, farther S than other Nearctic Calidris... read more

Food and feeding

Benthic and terrestrial invertebrates smaller than 6 mm, such as small amphipods, particularly Corophium, gastropods, isopods,... read more


Lays mid May to early Jun. Monogamous, for one season or longer. Territorial, with maximum reported density of 90 pairs over 111 ha (Queen... read more


Migratory. Moves in broad front over interior North America to S USA, Greater Antilles, Gulf of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population previously estimated at in excess of 100,000 birds, of which 50,000–100,000 birds in Canada, but more recently... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 February 2020).