Thursday, 3 February 2011

Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima)

Latin Etymology: Calidris (grey waterbird mentioned by Aristotle) maritima ("of the sea")

Adult Winter plumage Purple Sandpiper  (Calidris maritima) at Herne Bay, Kent -  February 2011

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 50-105g  /  Length: 20-22cm  /  Wingspan: 40-46cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Purple Sandpiper is one of these birds where I cant really say where it's name comes from, it is only very slightly purple if you squint at it in certain lights. According to the RSPB, this bird is found mainly North of the Humber, but I found a trio of these fellows along a bit of rocky jetty in Herne Bay in Kent. Supposedly, South End and Margate are also good for them, so perhaps that area is worth checking out too. When identifying this bird look for the curved yellow beak and stubby yellow legs. These ones weren't too hard to photograph at all - they were relatively close to me and didn't seem bothered, although they had the benefit of a railing and a scramble across slippery rocks to their benefit if I had been trying to eat them or something.

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Calidris
Subspecies - none - monotypic

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - An uncommon and local Wintering species (13000 birds) and very rare breeding species (1-3 pairs)
 - A small number at Herne Bay in February 2012,associating with some roosting redshank.

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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