The semipalmated sandpiper (Calidris pusilla) is a very small shorebird. It is sometimes separated with other “stints” in Erolia, but, although these apparently form a monophyletic group, the present species’ old genus Ereunetes had been proposed before Erolia.
Adults have black legs and a short, stout, straight dark bill. The body is dark grey-brown on top and white underneath. The head and neck are tinged light grey-brown. This bird can be difficult to distinguish from other similar tiny shorebirds, in particular the western sandpiper; these are known collectively as “peeps” or “stints”.
Breeding and habitat
Their breeding habitat is the southern tundra in Canada and Alaska near water. They nest on the ground. The male makes several shallow scrapes; the female chooses one and adds grass and other material to line the nest. The female lays 4 eggs; the male assists in incubation. After a few days, the female leaves the young with the male; the young feed themselves.
These birds forage on mudflats, picking up food by sight and feel (bill). They mainly eat aquatic insects and crustaceans.