Visual Search | Wizard | Browse
Bird name:

Pectoral Sandpiper

Calidris melanotos




Sandpipers (Scolopacidae)





Euring 5

iBird Ad

Breeding Location:

Grasslands, Marshes

Breeding Type:


Egg Colour:

White to olive buff with dark brown blotches.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

19 - 23

Egg Incubator:


Nest Material:

Scrape in ground lined with grass and leaves.

Nest Location:

On the ground in a scrape.




Pectoral Sandpiper: Medium sandpiper with scaled, dark brown upperparts, heavily streaked brown breast, plain white belly. Crown, eyestripe are dark brown. Faint wing-bar and black rump with white edges are visible in flight. Legs are yellow or yellow-green and the bill is olive, darkening towards the tip. Juveniles have a brighter, finer pattern and are more rufous in colour. Swift direct flight with rapid wing beats. Zigzag pattern when flushed.

Range and Habitat

Pectoral Sandpiper: A scarce migrant to the UK and Ireland. In recent years it has been found breeding in Scotland. Breeds on Arctic tundra in Russia and North America. Winters in South America, Australia, and New Zealand. May be found on any wetland area, although they prefer freshwater areas.

Breeding and Nesting

Pectoral Sandpiper: Breeds in coastal tundra. Four white to olive eggs blotched with dark brown are laid in a cup of grass and leaves hidden in a grassy, slightly elevated area on the ground. Female incubates the eggs for 21 to 23 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Pectoral Sandpiper: In the breeding season, they feed mainly on flies, spiders, and seeds. During migration, they also feed on small freshwater and marine crustaceans and insects.


Pectoral Sandpiper: Call is a series of repeated "churrrt churrrt" with occasional "krrrek."

Similar Species

Pectoral Sandpiper: Sharp-tailed Sandpiper has paler breast and rufous-brown crown. Other sandpipers lack the strongly striped brown breast.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX