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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

White-rumped Sandpiper -- Calidris fuscicollis

RANGE: Breeds from northern Alaska to northern Bylot Island, south to the mainland coasts of Mackenzie and Keewatin, northwestern Hudson Bay, Southampton Island, and southern Baffin Island. Migrates along the Atlantic Coast and winters in South America.

STATUS: Uncommon.

HABITAT: Inhabits both lowland and upland tundra, frequently around bog pools, on dry ridges, or among grassy tussocks near rivers or lakes. Usually closely associated with moist, open terrain, but tolerates occasional freezing and snow cover and a wide range of temperatures. In migration, prefers shallow grassy pools, wet meadows, and marshes but also occurs on sandbars, mudflats, and beaches.


NEST: Nests in mossy depressions in clumps of grasses and sedges in the uplands, or in mossy hummocks on well-vegetated tundra that is persistently wet, often near marshy ponds and lake shores. Conceals nest, usually among grasslike plants, including narrow-leaved cottongrass, grass rush, water sedges, and mosses.

FOOD: Forages by snatching prey and by probing deeply in soft mud. Eats cranefly larvae, beetles, grasshoppers, clover-root curculio, and other insects, tiny mollusks, marine worms, and a few seeds.

REFERENCES: Bent 1927, Cramp and Simons 1983, Drury 1961, Palmer 1967, Parmelee et al. 1968, Terres 1980.

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