The semipalmated sandpiper is a small shorebird that belongs to the family of Scolopacidae. These birds are commonly found in North America, South America, and even as far south as Antarctica during their migration.
The semipalmated sandpiper gets its name from its partially webbed feet. Adults have brownish-gray feathers on their back with white underparts, while juveniles have more brown and less gray in their plumage. They measure around 6-7 inches long and weigh approximately 1 ounce.
Where To Find This Bird
Semipalmated sandpipers breed in the Arctic tundra of Canada and Alaska before migrating towards southern parts of North America, Central America, and northern South America for wintering. During migration periods, they can be seen along coastlines near wetlands or marshes.
These birds prefer mudflats, sandy beaches or rocky shores near freshwater bodies like lakes or estuaries where they can find food easily.
Semipalmated sandpipers mainly feed on insects like flies or beetles but also eat tiny crustaceans such as amphipods or mollusks such as clams when available. They use their slender beaks to probe through mudflats looking for prey.
While migrating long distances from north to south hemisphere these tiny birds travel almost nonstop for up to three days covering over two thousand miles crossing oceans with no rest till reaching destination.
They will often fly low over water surfaces using a zigzag pattern avoiding detection by predators below.
During breeding season males display aerial dance patterns trying to lure females into mating which includes flight displays high above ground.
In conclusion,the Semipalmated Sandpiper is an interesting bird that has adapted well to living by the ocean side.Their unique physical characteristics make them stand out among other shorebirds.While not commonly encountered in the backyard, catching sight of them in their natural habitat is a treat that birdwatchers should cherish.