Stilt Sandpiper

photo by Phil Swanson

Calidris himantopus
L 8 1/2″ (22 cm).

Song or calls:
Hoarse low “querp,” and soft trilled “krrr.”

Description: Sexes similar. Long yellow-green legs. Breeding plumage shows striped crown; chestnut ear patches; prominent white eyebrow stripe; slightly decurved black bill; white below with heavy streaking on neck and underparts. Winter adult is gray above and white below, with streaking on neck and distinct eyebrow. Juvenile similar to winter adult but with streaked crown and slight buffy wash on breast.

stilt sandpiper
Habitat: Migrants can be found on mud flats, shallow mud-bottom ponds, and flooded fields.

Where in Nebraska:Common to uncommon spring and fall migrant across the state, becoming less common in western Nebraska.

Field Notes: Most likely to be found in more sheltered areas than on exposed shorelines.

Fun Facts: Stilt Sandpipers often wade in shallow water up to their bellies to feed by probing up and down in the mud for food, much like a sewing machine.
Stilt Sandpiper - photo by Phil Swanson winter Stilt Sandpiper - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)