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Comparisons: Dunlin and Stilt Sandpiper


Dunlins and Stilt Sandpipers might not normally be confused but in winter plumage, and while standing in relatively deep water, they can be difficult separate.  The following images demonstrate the similarities and differences.

All images © Greg Lavaty.


Dunlin in Winter Plumage


Stilt Sandpiper in Winter Plumage.  Note the yellow legs.


Dunlin in Winter Plumage


Dunlin in Winter Plumage


Stilt Sandpipers have long, narrow wings.


Stilt Sandpiper landing.


Stilt Sandpiper in non-breeding Plumage.


Stilt Sandpipers in flight.


Dunlin in breeding plumage.


Stilt Sandpiper in spring plumage.

Inexperienced birds sometimes confuse Stilt Sandpipers with yellowlegs or Solitary Sandpiper, even though the bill shape is quite different.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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