Common Name

Scientific Name

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The stilt sandpiper, Calidris himantopus, breeds along the coasts of Alaska, northwestern Canada, and Hudson Bay in wet tundra meadows. This shorebird is infrequently seen in Utah during its migration to wintering grounds in interior South America and Central America.

This bird forages in pools, lagoons, freshwater ponds, flooded fields, and swamps, unlike most sandpipers, which forage on mudflats and beaches. It feeds on aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and occasionally seeds.

Eggs are laid in an unlined depression among grasses, often on slightly elevated ground. Between late June and August, four eggs are laid. Incubation duties are shared by both parents, with the male usually incubating during the day, and the female incubating primarily at night. Young hatch after 19 to 21 days and leave the nest almost immediately. Both parents tend the young after hatching, but the male alone may care for them after a short time. Young are independent after just 14 days, though they do not fly until they are 17 or 18 days old.


  • Klima, J., and J. R. Jehl, Jr. 1998. Stilt sandpiper (Calidris himantopus). Birds of North America 341: 20 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.