Semipalmated Sandpiper

Calidris pusilla
Range Map

The feet of Semipalmated and Western Sandpipers are partially webbed, and so describes the semipalmate’d name of this bird. Both peeps have black legs which help distinguish them from the third member of the peep clan, the Least Sandpiper, which has greenish-yellow legs. The Western Sandpiper’s bill is longer than the Semipalmated Sandpiper and droops slightly, which helps differentiate its identity and tell you which peep you might be seeing.

Semipalmated Sandpipers mainly spend winters along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of South America and on islands of the Caribbean. With spring, they migrate to the northern limits of the North America continent to breed. Most of their population passes through eastern North America and we seldom encountered them in western USA.

Modern science considers the Semipalmated Sandpiper as monotypic (i.e. no subspecies).

Until I visited south Texas in 2020, the only members of the small peep group were Western and Least Sandpipers. Then, on South Padre Island, at the end of April, I finally met the Semipalmated Sandpiper. At last, I had the peep trifecta!

Click map markers to reveal further information