Monday, 12 September 2011

Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)

OTHER NAMES: American Pectoral Sandpiper, Grass Snipe
Latin Etymology: Calidris (bird mentioned by Aristotle) melanotos ("black-backed")

Adult Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotus) in non-breeding plumage, at Pitsford Reservoir, Northants - September 2011

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 73g  /  Length: 21cm  /  Wingspan: 46cm
NO UK STATUS / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Pectoral Sandpiper is a primarily a North American species, and is not established in Europe, but is one of the most consistent New World vagrants to reach Europe. It has even apparently bred once or twice, but the exact information about that seems fairly hidden beyond "it did happen". Care must be taken to differentiate it from Dunlin - the key feature being the clean cut line on the chest where the markings stop and go to white - hence the name "pectoral". It is generally juveniles which turn up here, and because they can literally arrive anywhere, it is almost certainly easier to follow reports from other people rather than to go off to try and find your own, unless there has been a particular influx.

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

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Rare but annual vagrant, has reportedly bred on a small number of occasions
 - Vagrant bird seen at Pitsford Reservoir in September 2011.

Further Notes: BirdForum OpusIUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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