Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

Baird's sandpiper, Calidris bairdii, is an uncommon migrant through Utah. The breeding range of this shorebird is the tundra and coasts of extreme northern Canada and Alaska, where it nests in dry areas amid sparse grass or small shrubs. During migration, this species may fly over 4,000 miles to South America, sometimes wintering at the southern coasts of South America.

At the beginning of the breeding season, males perform hovering flight displays to advertise their presence to females. Nests are shallow depressions lined with a few leaves and grasses. Four eggs are laid in June or July; both sexes share incubation duties for 21 days. Both sexes care for the young for the first week, but the chicks are tended by the female alone thereafter. Young are able to fly after 20 days. This species usually forages in groups, running in short spurts on soft mud or in shallow water while capturing invertebrates on the surface.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.