Least Sandpiper – The World’s Smallest Shorebird

Least SandpiperLeast Sandpiper – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 160, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

Least Sandpipers (Calidris minutilla) are the world’s smallest shorebird, weighing in at a mere 0.7 ounces (20 g), a length of 6 inches and a wingspan of 13 inches. Least Sandpipers breed in wet low-Arctic locations from Alaska, the Yukon to Quebec and Newfoundland and they winter in southern North America south to Peru and Brazil.

Because of their small size and habit of feeding near vegetative cover they can be difficult to spot. Their prey consists of sand fleas, tiny mollusks, flies and a variety of other small terrestrial and aquatic prey.

The Least Sandpiper above was photographed in June of 2008 at Fort De Soto’s north beach where I found it well out in the open on the sand between two areas of Spartina marsh.

Mia

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