Pectoral Sandpipers, Calidris Melanotos

Pectoral Sandpiper Photographed by Andreas Trepte

Pectoral Sandpiper Photographed by Andreas Trepte

Identifying Them:

Pectoral Sandpipers are small birds with a height of approximately 8 inches and a wingspan of about 18 inches. Their name “Pectoral” was given to them because of their inflatable air sac on the males’ chest, puffed out during his hooting-flight display during the breeding season. Pectoral Sandpipers are sometimes confused for Sharp-tailed Sandpipers whom are about the same height as the Pectoral and have a lot of the same features, but you can tell them a part a few ways, like how Sharp-tailed Sandpipers’ legs are a more grey color and Pectoral Sandpipers’ legs are more yellow. Another way you can tell them a part is that Pectorals have a more rounded body.


Pectoral Sandpipers aren’t native to Oregon, but they will visit the west coast sometimes. In the summer, Pectoral Sandpipers breed in coastal tundras. Migrates like wet, muddy, grassy areas like mud-flats, wet meadows, tidal grasslands, grasslands and flooded fields.


They have two main ways of looking and foraging for food. One, by picking up prey from the ground, and two, by poking their beaks in shallow mud or water.

In the male’s flight display he puffs out his chest sac so it looks like a feathered balloon. The male soars low over a female who is on the ground while doing so, he makes a quiet hooting-call and after passing her, he circles around changing his glides and the flapping of his wings (he repeats this display once or twice).

Nesting and Nestlings:

Their nests are on the ground and are built by the female. Nests are an indentation lined with grass, leaves and other vegetation to form a cup shape. The nest is usually located in a grassy tundra, often in a drier area of land though usually near water (most often well hidden in a tall cluster of grass).

  • The male doesn’t take care of the eggs or the nestlings.

Females lay about 4 eggs which are light brown with lots of darker brown splotches all over. She by herself, incubates the eggs (incubation period takes about 21-23 days). After the babies hatch, they don’t remain in their nest for that long before leaving. Though they aren’t in the nest anymore the female still tends to then though they are soon capable of feeding themselves and are able to fly after about 21 days after hatching.


Pectoral Sandpipers mostly only eat insects such as beetles, flies and larvae, but will occasionally eat types of small spiders and sometimes seeds.


About faithelise

I love learning about species of birds and want to be an Ornathologist. Writing about birds is my passion and I love every part of it!
This entry was posted in Bird Watching, nonfiction, Uncommon birds, Waders and Shorebirds and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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