Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Calidris acuminata

Sharp-tailed Sandpipers are dependably regular migrants in fall on the Pribilofs. The vast majority of the sightings of this species involve juvenile birds from early August through October. A few adults are sometimes detected in mid to late July. During periods of west winds in fall this species can be the most common non-breeding shorebird on the island. Juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpipers should also be sought whenever Pectoral Sandpipers (likely coming from their Russian breeding grounds) are found on the island. The separation of these two species in juvenile plumage is straightforward when birds are in fresh plumage. Look for Sharp-tailed Sandpipers bright buffy wash on the upper breast, bright, distinct cap and rufous wing coverts and tertials. Both species prefer the grass beds that fringe our freshwater lakes. When flushed, listen for the whistled calls of Sharp-taileds, which are distinct from the lowchurrrkcall of Pectoral Sandpiper.