BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER (Calidris subruficollis) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Buff-breasted Sandpiper upper parts are mottled brown. Face and underside are buff. Bill is shorter than the head and grey. Eyes are black. Legs are yellow. Sexes similar, but male larger. Bird length about 43 cm (18 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Calidris-subruficollis
NAME: English name ‘Sandpiper’ stems from ‘sand’, and Latin ‘pipa’, to ‘chirp’. Latin genus name ‘Calidris’ refers to a grey speckled shorebird. Latin species name ‘subruficollis’ means ‘somewhat rufous neck’.
HABITAT: Tundra in summer, pampa in winter.
DIET: Insects, crustaceans, seeds.
BREEDING/NESTING: Males gather in a ‘lek’ for courtship displays. Nest is a shallow depression on the ground. Four beige eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Chicks can feed themselves soon after hatching, but cared for by female.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds on arctic tundra (western part of Canada and eastern part of Siberia), migrates to Argentina. Some vagrants have been observed on Hawaii (see note below on bird vagrancy).
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buff-breasted_sandpiper#/media/File:Buff-Breasted_Sandpiper_Range.png
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, occasional sightings in the fall.
CONSERVATION: Population seriously declined through hunting in 1800s. Now is threatened from habitat degradation and pollution.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Upland Sandpiper, Ruff
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
REFERENCES: https://www.nwtspeciesatrisk.ca/species/buff-breasted-sandpiper (Govt of North West Territories)
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABNNF14010 (Montana Field Guide)
https://abcbirds.org/bird/buff-breasted-sandpiper/ (American Bird Conservancy)

Buff-breasted sandpiper  Montezuma, NY – by Tim Lenz, Sept. 2010
Buff-breasted sandpiper
Montezuma, NY – by Tim Lenz
Buff-breasted sandpiper  Cantabric Coast, Spain  by Mario Suarez Porras
Buff-breasted sandpiper
Cantabric Coast, Spain
by Mario Suarez Porras