WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER – (Calidris fuscicollis)
The White-rumped sandpiper is thus named because of exactly that – a white rump. The Latin ‘fuscicollis’ means ‘dark neck’, and ‘Calidris’ is from ancient Greek and refers to a greyish shorebird. It is a small shorebird in the ‘peep’ category measuring around 20 cm long (7.8 in.). This species has white under parts and medium mottled brown upper parts. The bill and the legs are also brown. Plumage varies with the seasons and age (adult vs juvenile) but not with the sexes.
Identification of these small shorebird species can be challenging, one factor being that there may be hybridization between similar species.
As with other species in this family, the bill of the white-rumped sandpiper is equipped with corpuscles of Herbst at the tip, which allow the bird an increased sensitivity in finding its prey – small invertebrates for the most part – in mud and sand.
The white-rumped sandpiper does not breed on PEI, but is fairly to very common in the summer and the fall, during its very long migration to coastal areas of mainly Argentina for the winter. It breeds in the Arctic and its distribution range encompasses the eastern half of North America and most of South America except the Andes region.