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buff-breasted sandpiper

buff-breasted sandpiper (Calidris subruficollis)
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Features and Behaviors

The buff-breasted sandpiper is about eight and one-third inches long (tail tip to bill tip in preserved specimen). The feathers from the sides of the head through the underside, nearly reaching the tail, are buff-colored. The bird has a small head, short bill and yellow legs.

This species is a rare spring migrant and is occasionally seen during its fall migration. Most of these birds migrate northward farther west than Illinois, but a few are sometimes seen in spring starting in April. They breed on the Arctic tundra. This species is more common in Illinois on its southward migration and begins appearing in the state in late July. Overwintering occurs in Paraguay, Uruguay and northern Argentina in South America. Short, grassy areas near mudflats are the usual habitats for this species in Illinois. It can also be seen at other short-grass areas, such as golf courses, airports and sod fields. Insects are the main food source.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae

Illinois Status: common, native