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Conservation status: Green

The pectoral sandpiper is a bit larger than a dunlin. It has a brown, streaky breast, white belly and slightly downcurved bill, and yellow-brown legs. The brown breastband (which gives the species its name) and white belly are its most distinctive features.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Calidris melanotos

Family

Sandpipers and allies (Scolopacidae)

Where to see them

Almost any wetland area in the UK could attract a pectoral sandpiper, though freshwater locations are preferred.

When to see them

They're scarce passage migrants from America and Siberia. A few are seen in spring, but the vast majority appear in late summer and autumn. Young pectoral sandpipers from the eastern coast of North America can be blown over the Atlantic by areas of low pressure. It is the most common North American wading bird to occur here and has even started to breed in Scotland very recently.

What they eat

Small creatures that live in shoreline mud.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
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Distribution

Similar birds