Little Stint

Little Stints are found during roughly 40% of the tour seasons on Saint Paul Island. The species is best regarded as accidental in spring and rare in fall. Spring records are all from the first week in June. Southbound adults, in worn alternate plumage can appear as early as July 24, and juveniles pass through between August 8 and 22. Adult Little Stints are likely to be confused only with the more common Red-necked Stint. Look for the fine-tipped bill, short primary projection, bright rufous face, wing coverts and upper breast and especially for the black speckling on the sides of the breast that spread through the red. Red-necked Stints have shorter bills, longer bodies and shorter statures than Little Stints, usually show less red above and have black speckles across the breast below the red coloration. Juvenile birds are more difficult to identify, and care must be taken to eliminate both Red-necked Stint and bright Semipalmated Sandpipers. Little Stint juveniles are comparatively longer legged and shorter bodied than Red-necked’s and show bright mantle lines and a split supercilium. Red-necked Stints have grayish lower scapulars and wing-coverts that contrast with the black centered and rufous-fringed upper scapulars and mantle. In addition Little Stints tend to be quite active feeders, similar to the feeding pattern of Semipalmated Sandpipers, while Red-necked Stints tend to feed in a slower more probing fashion. Juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers tend to be duller overall than Little Stint, without prominent rufous tones or bold mantle lines. Semipalmated Sandpipers also usually have a shorter, straighter and thicker tipped bill than the typical Little Stint. The identification of juvenile Dark-legged peeps on Saint Paul is a challenge, and close prolonged views are likely to be necessary.