Pectoral sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)

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The pectoral sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) is a small, migratory wader that breeds in North America and Asia, wintering in South America and Oceania. It eats small invertebrates. Its nest, a hole scraped in the ground and with a thick lining, is deep enough to protect its four eggs from the cool breezes of its breeding grounds.

This bird looks similar to the widely sympatric sharp-tailed sandpiper (“C.” acuminata), which is not a member of the stint clade however. The pectoral sandpiper is a largish calidrid (21 cm (8.3 in) in length, with a wingspan of 46 cm (18 in)) with a grey-brown back, brownest in the summer male, and greyest in winter. The pectoral sandpiper has a grey breast, sharply demarcated at its lower edge, which gives this species its English name; this clear dividing line is particularly conspicuous if the birds are turned towards the observer. The legs are yellowish, and the bill is olive with a darker tip.

The juveniles are more brightly patterned above with rufous colouration and white mantle stripes.

This species differs from the sharp-tailed sandpiper in its breast pattern, weaker supercilium and greyer crown.

Standard Measurements[
length 200–240 mm (8–9.6 in)
weight 73 g (2.6 oz)
wingspan 460 mm (18 in)
wing 136–142.8 mm (5.35–5.62 in)
tail 60.4–63.9 mm (2.38–2.52 in)
culmen 28.7–29.3 mm (1.13–1.15 in)
tarsus 27.8–30 mm (1.09–1.18 in)

Few observations in the Danube Delta.


photo: Mihai BACIU


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