Semipalmated Sandpiper

The Semipalmated Sandpiper is a small shorebird in the group known as peeps or stints. The Semipalmated Sandpiper gets its name from the slight webbing at the base of its toes. This can be difficult to see and is not diagnostic, as other sandpipers also have these webbed feet. Its stubby bill and drab plumage help distinguish it from the other peeps, the Least and Western Sandpipers. The adult in breeding plumage is mottled black-and-brown, with little or no rufous coloration. The adult in non-breeding plumage is light gray with a lighter belly. The legs of the adult are black, distinguishing this bird from the yellow-legged Least Sandpiper. In flight, the Semipalmated Sandpiper shows a white stripe down its wings and white on either side of its tail. Juveniles look similar to adults in breeding plumage, and rarely have the rufous coloration seen on juvenile Western and Least Sandpipers. In the late summer when we are most likely to see them, the juveniles have not reached adult plumage, and their legs may be olive-colored.