WatchList Species Account for Semipalmated Sandpiper
(Calidris pusilla)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species


Photo: © Bill Hubick

Photo: Bill Hubick

The Semipalmated Sandpiper breeds in low and subarctic tundra near water from the western and northern coast of Alaska across far northern Canada to Quebec. It also breeds in extreme northeastern Siberia. After only a few weeks on its breeding grounds, it heads for its wintering grounds in shallow lagoons and tidal mudflats along the coast of Central America and along the northern and central coasts of South America, primarily in Suriname and French Guiana, with a few birds in Florida, the West Indies, Central America, and southern South America. Important migration stopover points are the Bay of Fundy, where it makes up 95% of all shorebirds, Delaware Bay and Cheyenne Bottoms, Kansas. It undertakes nonstop flights up to 2,672 miles from the Bay of Fundy to northern South America.


As with other shorebirds, this species’ numbers were severely depleted by market shooting in the late 1800s. Though there are no indications of population decline at least in the years prior to the early 1990s, the bird is vulnerable to catastrophic events at its most important migratory stopovers and its wintering grounds. Like other shorebirds breeding in northern latitudes, it is threatened by habitat changes brought about by global warming.