The White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis) is a small, migratory shorebird that breeds in the Arctic tundra of Canada and Alaska. The species is known for its long migration, with individuals travelling up to 20,000 miles round-trip between their breeding and wintering grounds. Adults measure around 7.5 inches in length and weigh approximately 1.3 ounces, with males typically being slightly larger than females.
One of the most distinguishing field marks of the White-rumped Sandpiper is its white rump, which is visible in flight or when the bird is perched with its wings raised. The species also has a brownish-gray back and wings, a white breast and belly, and a distinctive black patch on the chin. During breeding season, males develop a rust-colored neck and chest.
White-rumped Sandpipers typically begin their migration south in late July or early August, with juveniles leaving slightly later. They travel along the coasts of North and South America, stopping at key staging areas to rest and refuel. These birds are known for their incredible endurance, flying non-stop for several days and covering distances of over 2,500 miles at a time.
During the winter, White-rumped Sandpipers can be found in coastal habitats along the western coast of South America, as far south as Chile and Argentina. They also occur in smaller numbers in the Caribbean and along the southeastern coast of the United States. In their wintering range, these birds often forage on mudflats and in tidal pools for small invertebrates such as crustaceans and mollusks.
The White-rumped Sandpiper is considered a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with a stable population estimated at around 500,000 individuals. However, they face threats from habitat loss and degradation in their breeding and wintering grounds, as well as potential impacts from climate change. Conservation efforts are underway to monitor their populations and protect their habitats.