Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Near Threatened

Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)


French: Bécasseau semipalmé German: Sandstrandläufer Spanish: Correlimos semipalmeado

Tringa pusilla


, 1766,

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic


Formerly placed in Ereunetes. Genetic data indicate that this species and C. mauri are sisters#R and that there is no basis for subspecific division of the western, central and eastern breeding populations#R. Monotypic.


W & N Alaska and N Canada from Yukon to Labrador; has recently colonized extreme NE Siberia (N Chukotskiy Peninsula)#R. Winters on Pacific coast from S Mexico to S Peru, and on Atlantic coast from Yucatán and West Indies to E Brazil, rarely to C Argentina.

Descriptive notes

13–15 cm; 18–51·5 g; wingspan 34–37 cm. Breeding plumage duller than in most congeners; brownish-grey upperparts with dark centres to scapulars;... read more


On breeding grounds, numerous sounds made, with dfferent vocalizations used during aerial displays... read more


High and low Arctic and subarctic wet sedge or heath tundra, Carex marshes in N, often... read more

Food and feeding

During breeding season mainly chironomid larvae (60%); also spiders (15–20%), snails, larvae of other Diptera and beetles, and seeds... read more


Lays Jun to early Jul, with most nests initiated in third week of Jun and late clutches are often deserted. Monogamous. Territorial, with... read more


Long-distance migrant; non-stop flights of up to 4000 km; flocks of up to 350,000 birds may gather... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considerd Near Threatened. Total population estimated at 3,200,000–3,900,000 birds (1993) when decline already evident, although... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla). 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 25 February 2020).