|Range of C. maritima Breeding Resident Non-breeding Passage|
The purple sandpiper (Calidris maritima) is a small shorebird. The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds. The specific maritima is from Latin and means "of the sea", from mare, "sea".
Adults have short yellow legs and a medium thin dark bill with a yellow base. The body is dark on top with a slight purplish gloss and mainly white underneath. The breast is smeared with grey and the rump is black. They measure 20–22 cm (7.9–8.7 in) in length and 42–46 cm (17–18 in) across the wings, and weight is from 50–105 g (1.8–3.7 oz).
|length||210–240 mm (8.1–9.5 in)|
|weight||70 g (2.5 oz)|
|wingspan||430 mm (17 in)|
|wing||117.9–130 mm (4.64–5.12 in)|
|tail||55.9–63 mm (2.20–2.48 in)|
|culmen||27.2–32 mm (1.07–1.26 in)|
|tarsus||22–23.8 mm (0.87–0.94 in)|
Their breeding habitat is the northern tundra on Arctic islands in Canada and coastal areas in Greenland and northwestern Europe. They nest on the ground either elevated on rocks or in lower damp location. The males makes several scrapes; the female chooses one and lays 3 or 4 eggs. The male takes the major responsibility for incubation and tends the chicks. The young feed themselves.
Range and migration
In Britain, these birds occur in winter in good numbers principally along the east and south coasts, where they favour rocky shorelines adjacent to the sea. It is much rarer as a breeding bird, found only in a localised area of the Cairngorms National Park, where 1–3 pairs have bred since the 1970s. Records of breeding by this species in the UK are monitored and archived by the Rare Breeding Birds Panel.
They are late migrants and move to rocky, ice-free Atlantic coasts in winter. Most go no further south than North Carolina and northern Portugal. They are fairly gregarious, forming small flocks, often with Ruddy Turnstones. This species is tame and approachable.
These birds forage on rocky coasts, picking up food by sight. They mainly eat arthropods and molluscs, also some plant material. One of the main staples are those of the Coelopa genera (C. frigida). These insects are known commonly as "seaweed flies" because they feed, mate, and create a habitat out of beached seaweed which is common near the Purple Sandpiper's habitat.
The Purple sandpiper is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Calidris maritima". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.old-form url
- Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 84, 242. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
- "Purple Sandpiper". All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
- Godfrey, W. Earl (1966). The Birds of Canada. Ottawa: National Museum of Canada. p. 151.
- Sibley, David Allen (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf. p. 181. ISBN 0-679-45122-6.
- Millington, Richard (1994). "A mystery Calidris at Cley". Birding World. 7 (2): 61–63. Archived from the original on 17 June 2004.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Calidris maritima.|
|Wikispecies has information related to Calidris maritima|
- Purple sandpiper facts on BTO BirdFacts
- Purple sandpiper information at eNature.com
- BirdLife species factsheet for Calidris maritima
- "Calidris maritima". Avibase.
- "Purple sandpiper media". Internet Bird Collection.
- Purple sandpiper photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
- Interactive range map of Calidris maritima at IUCN Red List maps
- Audio recordings of Purple sandpiper on Xeno-canto.
- Calidris maritima in the Flickr: Field Guide Birds of the World