PURPLE SANDPIPER (Calidris maritima) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Purple Sandpiper is a plump shorebird with grey-brown mottled upper parts. Under parts are light beige with brown streaks on the breast and flanks. There is no purple in the breeding plumage (in spite of bird’s name), and only a faint purple tint in the winter plumage. Bill is slightly longer than the head and black, with yellow at the base. Eyes are black, legs and feet are yellow. Sexes are similar. Bird length is around 20 cm (8 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Calidris-maritima
NAME: ‘Sandpiper’ stems from ‘sand’, and Latin ‘pipa’, which means to ‘chirp’. Latin genus name ‘Calidris’ refers to a grey speckled shorebird. Latin species name ‘maritima’ refers to the bird’s habitat.
HABITAT: Coastal tundra in summer, along the coasts in winter.
DIET: Insects, crustaceans, seeds, berries.
NESTING: Nest is a shallow depression on the ground, lined with plant material. Around three beige eggs are laid, incubated by both parents. Chicks can feed themselves, and cared for by the male.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in the Arctic tundra around the world. Winters along the coasts on northeast North America, North and West Europe.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_sandpiper#/media/File:CalidrisMaritimaIUCNver2018_2.png
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings rare or occasional during migration.
CONSERVATION: Population small and declining, but still not considered at risk.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Red Knot (non-breeding)
REFERENCES: https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/purple-sandpiper
http://www.npolar.no/en/species/purple-sandpiper.html (Norwegian Polar Institute)
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABNNF11150 (Montana Field Guide)
https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Calidris_maritima/ (University of Michigan)
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/linnut/purple-sandpiper (Nature Gate Finland)

Purple Sandpiper - Oct. 2009 - photo by Andreas Trepte
Purple Sandpiper – Oct. 2009 – photo by Andreas Trepte
Purple Sandpiper, winter plumage - UK - Dec. 2013 - photo by Ian Kirk
Purple Sandpiper, winter plumage – UK – Dec. 2013 – photo by Ian Kirk