Least Sandpiper (Calidris or Erolia minutilla)

The Least Sandpiper(Calidris or Erolia minutilla) is the smallest shorebird that breeds on the northern North American continent on tundra or in bogs.

They migrate in flocks to the southern United States and northern South America.

They occur as very rare vagrants in western Europe.

Description:

Breeding adults are brown with dark brown streaks on top and white underneath. They have a light line above the eye and a dark crown. In winter, Least Sandpipers are grey above.

It has yellowish legs and a short thin dark bill.

The juveniles are brightly patterned above with rufous colouration and white mantle stripes.

Similar Species: They can be difficult to distinguish from other similar shorebirds – such as its Asian counterpart, Long-toed Stint. The Least Sandpiper is more compact and shorter-necked in appearance. It has shorter toes, somewhat duller colors and stronger wingbars.

Least Sandpiper

Breeding / Distribution:

They nest on the ground near water. The female lays 4 eggs in a shallow scrape lined with grass and most. Both parents incubate; the female leaves before the young birds fledge and sometimes before the eggs hatch.

The young birds are independent within two weeks of birth.

Diet / Feeding:

They forage on mudflats, picking up food by sight, sometimes by probing. The mainly eat small crustaceans, insects and snails.