Thursday, January 28, 2021

Least Sandpiper

The least sandpiper is a new bird to me. I saw one at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area in January 2021 foraging in a small pool.  Wikipedia calls it the "smallest shorebird." They breed in the extreme north of North America (Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavit, northern Quebec), habiting the tundra and bogs, then migrate for the winter to the extreme southern U.S., Mexico, Caribbean and northern South America. 
It has yellow legs, a light white line above the eye, a thin and slightly drooped black bill and is white underneath. Winter plumage, that I saw, has a smudgy brown breast and is lighter brown with less definition. Breeding plumage is darker brown with more pronounced feathers lined in white. 

They forage on mudflats and eat small crustaceans, insects and snails. 

1 comment:

  1. That black beak is pretty striking against the soft colors of its feathers.