The purple sandpiper is a medium-sized wading birds that is larger, stockier and darker than a dunlin. It is mainly dark grey above and whitish below. It has a downcurved beak and short bright orange legs. In flight, it shows a thin white wing-stripe.
A couple of pairs nest in Scotland, but this species is mainly a winter visitor to almost any rocky coast in the UK. Most are found in Orkney, Shetland and along the east coast of Scotland and northern England - it is scarce south of Yorkshire, other than Devon and Cornwall. The breeding areas in Scotland are kept secret to protect the birds from egg thieves and disturbance.
It is listed on Schedule 1 of The Wildlife and Countryside Act.
What they eat:
Winkles, insects, spiders, crustaceans and plants.
- 20-22 cm
- 40-44 cm
- 60-75 g
- UK breeding:
- 1-3 pairs
- UK wintering:
- 13,000 birds