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Pectoral Sandpiper

These birds can be spotted in the United States when they’re migrating to northern Canada, Alaska, and Siberia.

A truly long-distance migrant, Pectoral Sandpipers breed in the arctic and winter in southern South America. They migrate primarily through the Great Plains in spring, but occur more broadly across North America during fall migration.  Pectoral Sandpipers are often seen in groups, and sometimes with other sandpipers.

Pectoral Sandpipers defend breeding territories of up to 25 acres using flight displays.  Females choose the nest site and do the incubation. Her eggs are laid at the rate of one egg every day or every other day.


Description of the Pectoral Sandpiper


The Pectoral Sandpiper is a medium shorebird with yellow legs and a rather short, two-toned bill.  It has brownish upperparts marked with black, and a streaked breast with a sharply defined border, below which the underparts are white. In flight, Pectoral Sandpipers show a very weak white wing stripe.  Breeding birds have slight reddish tones to the head and upperparts.

Pectoral Sandpiper


The sexes are similar.

Seasonal change in appearance

Winter birds are plainer and less heavily streaked below.


Juveniles are largely similar to adults, but brighter.


Pectoral Sandpipers inhabit tundra, marshes, wet meadows, and mudflats.


Pectoral Sandpipers eat insects.

Pectoral Sandpiper

Photograph © Greg Lavaty.


Pectoral Sandpipers forage by gleaning from the surface of the ground or by probing in mud.


Pectoral Sandpipers breed in arctic Canada and Alaska. They winter in South America, and occur across the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. in migration, as well as along the West Coast. The population is stable.

Fun Facts

Male Pectoral Sandpipers puff out their inflatable chests during courtship displays.

Male Pectoral Sandpipers mate with several females, but do not assist with incubation or brood rearing.


The flight song is a series of hoots resembling a foghorn.  A “churk” call is also given.


Similar Species


The Pectoral Sandpiper’s nest is a depression lined with grass, and is well hidden within grass.

Number: Usually lay 4 eggs.
Color: Whitish to olive with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 21-23 days, and leave the nest shortly after hatching, though associating with the female for some time.

Bent Life History of the Pectoral Sandpiper

Published by the Smithsonian Institution between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Bent life history series of monographs provide an often colorful description of the birds of North America. Arthur Cleveland Bent was the lead author for the series. The Bent series is a great resource and often includes quotes from early American Ornithologists, including Audubon, Townsend, Wilson, Sutton and many others.

Bent Life History for the Pectoral Sandpiper – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.



This familiar sandpiper is well known as a migrant throughout most of North America, especially east of the Rocky Mountains, as it travels on its long journeys between the Arctic tundras, where it breeds, and its winter home in southern South America. It is more popular among gunners than the other small sandpipers, to whom it is known by several names. It is called “jack snipe’ on account of its resemblance in appearance and habits to the Wilson snipe. It deserves the name, “grass bird,” because it usually frequents grassy meadows. The name, “creaker,” “creeker,” or “Krieker,” may have been derived from its reedy notes, from its haunts along the muddy banks of creeks, or from the German word Kriecaer, on account of its crouching habits.

Spring: The northward migration must start from Argentina in February, for it reaches Texas and Louisiana early in March, and I have seen it in Florida as early as March 14. On the other hand it has been taken at Mendoza, Argentina, as late as March 26. The main flight passes through the United States during March and April, but I have seen it in Texas as late as May 17. During May the migration is at its height in Canada and before the end of that month it reaches its summer home. William Rowan tells me that it is always very abundant in Alberta during May and that the males come alone at first, then mixed flocks, and finally only females. H. B. Conover writes to me that “these sandpipers seemed to arrive at Point Dall (Alaska) all at once. Up to May 20 none had been seen, but on the 21st they were found to be common all over the tundra. Immediately on arrival the males started their booring courtship.” John Murdoch (1885) says that, at Point Barrow:

They arrive about the end of May or early in June, and frequent the small ponds and marshy portions of the tundra along the shore, sometimes associated with other small waders, especially with the buff-breasted sandpipers on the high banks of Nunava. Early in the season they are frequently In large-sized flocks feeding together around and in the Eskimo village at Cape Smythe, but later become thoroughly scattered all over the tundra.

Courtship: The wonderful and curious courtship of the pectoral sandpiper has becn well described by several writers. Dr. E. W. Nelson’s (1887) pleasing and graphic account of it is well worth quoting in full; he writes:

The night of May 24 I lay wrapped In my blanket, and from the raised flap of the tent looked out over as dreary a cloud-covered landscape as can be imagined. The silence was unbroken save by the tinkle and clinking of the disintegrating Ice In the river, and at intervals by the wild notes of some restless loon, which arose in a hoarse reverberating cry and died away in a strange gurgling sound. As my eyelids began to droop and the scene to become indistinct, suddenly a low, hollow, booming note struck my ear and sent my thoughts back to a spring morning in northern Illinois, and to the loud vibrating tones of the prairie chickens. Again the sound arose nearer and more distinct, and with an effort I brought myself back to the reality of my position and, resting upon one elbow, listened. A few seconds passed and again arose the note; a moment later and, gun in hand, I stood outside the tent. The open flat extended away on all sides, with apparently not a living creature near. Once again the note was repeated close by, and a glance revealed Its author. Standing in the thin grasses 10 or 15 yards from me, with Its throat inflated until it was as large as the rest of the bird, was a male A. maculate. The succeeding days afforded opportunity to observe the bird as it uttered Its singular notes under a variety of situations and at various hours of the day or during the light Arctic night. The note is deep, hollow, and resonant, but at the same time liquid and musical, and may be represented by a repetition of the syllables too-u, too-u, too-u, too-u, too-u, too-u, too-u, too–u. Before the bird utters these notes It fills Its esophagus with air to such an extent that the breast and throat Is Inflated to twice or more its natural size, and the great air sac thus formed gives the peculiar resonant quality to the note. The skin of the throat and breast becomes very flabby and loose at this season, and its inner surface is covered with small globular masses of fat. When not inflated, the skin loaded with this extra weight and with a slightly serous suffusion which is present hangs down in a pendulous flap or fold exactly like a dewlap, about an inch and a half wide. The esophagus is very loose and becomes remarkably soft and distensible, hut is easily ruptured in this state, as I found by dissection. In the plate accompanying this report the extent and character of this inflation, unique at least among American waders, is shown. The bird tnay frequently be seen running along the ground close to the female, its enormous sac inflated, and its head drawn back and the bill pointing directly forward, or, filled with spring-time vigor, the bird flits with slow but energetic wingstrokes close along the ground, its head raised high over the shoulders and the tail hanging almost directly down. As it thus flies it utters a succession of the hollow, booming notes, which have a strange ventriloqulal quality. At times the male rises 2(1 or 30 yards in the air and inflating its throat glides down to the ground with its sac hanging below, as is shown in the accompanying plate. Again he crosses back and forth in front of the female, puffing his breast out and bowing from side to side, running here and there, as if intoxicated with passion. Whenever he pursues his love-making, his rather low but pervading note swells and dies in musical cadences, which form a striking part of the great bird chorus heard at this season in the north.

Mr. Conover (notes) adds the following:

When the male rises in the air to boom, in sailing to the ground he throws his wings up over his back, much in the same manner as tame pigeons when descending from a height; also a male whIch flew by with pouch extended was noticed to jerk his head up and down as he gave his call. The bill was partly open and he gave the appearance of swallowing air to inflate his throat. As it is the esophagus which is inflated and not the windpipe, this in all probability is what he does.

S. A. Buturlin (1907) gives a somewhat different account of it, as observed by him in Siberia, as follows:

One would every now and then stretch both wings right over its back, and afterwards commence a grotesque sort of dance, hopping alternately on each leg; another would inflate its gular pouch and run about, crouching down to the ground, or would fly up to about a hundred feet in the air, then inflate its pouch and descend slowly and obliquely to the ground on extended wings. All these performances were accompanied by a strange hollow sound, not very loud when near, but audible at some distance, even as far as 500 ydrds. These notes are very difficult to locate, and vary according to the distance. When near they are tremulous booming sounds something like the notes of a frog, and end in clear sounds like those caused by the bursting of water bubbles in a copper vessel.

Nesting: Mr. Murdoch (1885) says:

The nest Is always built in the grass, with a decided preference for high and dry localities like the banks of gulleys and streams. It was sometimes placed at the edge of a small pool, but always in grass and in a dry place, never in the black clay and moss, like the plover and buff-breasted sandpipers, or in the marsh, like the phalaropes. The nest was like that of the other waders, a depression In the ground Hued with a Uttle dry grass.

A set in my collection, taken by n.’. S. Hersey, near St. Michael, Alaska, was in a slight hollow on the open tundra with no concealment. And a set in the Herbert Massey collection, taken near Point Barrow by E. A. Mcllhenny, came from ” a slight hollow lined with dry grass, in the dry, gray moss of the tundra.”

Herbert W. Brandt in his manuscript notes says:

The pectoral sandpiper usually chooses for Its homesite the upland rolling tundra, but an occasional isolated pair was found on the dry grass lands of the tide fiats. This species builds the most substantial of any of the shore-birds nests that we met with at Hooper Bay, for even after it was removed from the grassy cavity in which it was built the nest would often hold firmly together. The birds showed exceptional skill in the concealment of their homes and consequently they were very di~cult to find for they chose a tract where the curly hunch grass grew abundantly and under its domed protection they constructed an excavation deep In the moss. Here a substantial nest is fashioned of grasses and tediously lined or rather filled with small crisp leaves of the low perennial plants that there, in a dwarf creeping form, are the only representatives of the great inland forests. The dimensions vary between the following extremes: Inside diameter 8 to 3% Inches; depth 1% to 2% inches; and outside depth 3% to 5 inches. We never observed other than the female carrying on the loving duties of incubation and seldom indeed was the male even in close attendance. The female is very di~cult to approach on the nest because she invariably leaves it before the ornithologist draws near and consequently we spent many hours endeavoring to watch the shy bird return to her nest.

The behavior of parent birds about the nests seems to be variable. W. Sprague Brooks (1915) says:

On approaching the vicinity of the nest the bird would leave it quietly and walk slowly about feeding and showing no excitement whatever. This happened several times until I decided to watch the bird and see if by any chance she might have a nest. In a short time she walked to a bunch of grass a few feet from me and settled on the nest. Even while I was packing away the eggs she showed no concern. I had precisely the same experience with the other two nests.

On the other hand, Alfred M. Bailey (1920) writes:

On July 3 Hendee flushed a female from a set of four slightly Incubated eggs. “The nest,” he states, was in a patch of marsh grass, similar to the location usuafly chosen by the phalaropes, except that the ground was not wet. The female fluttered away to a distance of about 30 feet and went through a remarkable performance in her attempt to decoy me from the nest. She crept about among the hummocks in a very unbirdlike fashion, uttering all the time a mouselike squeaking.”

Eggs: Mr. Brandt in his manuscript notes has described the eggs so well that I can not do better than to quote him, as follows:

The eggs of the pectoral sandpiper are of particular interest because they are perhaps the most beautiful of the many handsome shore-bird eggs that are found in the Hooper Bay region. Their rich and contrasting colors, their bold splashed markings, and high luster make them veritable gems of oological perfection. In ail nests that came under our observation four eggs constituted the complement, and these generally nestled points together amid the crisp leafy lining of their birthplace, standing most often at an obtuae angle to the horizontal. In outline they range from subpyriform to ovate pyriform. The exterior of the shell has a smooth, almost polished surface that reflects in many eggs a high luster. The ground color varies considerably from dull white to cream buff” and even to “deep olive buff,” but in all sets I have seen the ground color and markings follow the same shades and types In the same set of eggs. The surface markings are bold and individual, and appear as if they were daubed with a paint brush. The~e large rich spots are elongated and are placed parallel to the long axis of the egg, showing but little tendency to spiral. The heaviest markings are at the larger end, often merging into a large “chocolate” blotch, and in one case this rich blot of color covered more than a fourth of the egg. The color of the markings ranges from “walnut brown” and “sepia” to “chocolate” and “blackish brown,” with “chocolate” the predominating shade. The underlying spots are prominent and numerous on some eggs, while on others they are almost wanting. They vary from “pearl gray” to “violet gray,” with an occasional egg Inclined to “Isabella color.” In fact, each different clutch of eggs exhibits some Individual interesting peculiarity.

My only set, taken for me by Mr. Hersey, would fit the above description very well, but it is not particularly handsome. The ground color is dull white or “pale olive buff,” which is more or less evenly marked with small blotches and spots of “bister” and “bone brown.” Mr. Murdoch (1885) says that they “may be distino~uished from those of the buff-breasted sandpiper, which they closely resemble, by their warmer color.” The measurements of 116 eggs, in the United States National Museum and in Mr. Brandt’s collection, average 36.5 by 25 millimeters; the eggs showing the four extremes measure 38.5 by 25, 38 by 27, 34 by 24.9, and 85.5 by 24.5 millimeters.

Young: Mr. Conover writes to me as follows:

The incubation periotl seems to run from 21. to 23 days. A nest found May 31 with the complete set of four eggs was hatched on the morning of June 21. Another nest containing four eggs, from which the old bird was flushed, was found on June 2 and hatched on June 25. The first young were found on June 21. Contrary to their habits when there were only eggs In the nest, the mothers now showed great concern for their young. At one time Murie caught some newly hatched young, and holding his hand containing them extended on the ground, induced tile old bird to come up and brood tile chicks. She was so tame that he caught and banded her without difficulty. The male seems to take no part on the incubation or care of the young. He was often seen to join a hen driven from the nest, but only for purposes of courtship, as he would start booming immediately and chase her about. Before the eggs began to hatch, male birds seemed to disappear from the tundra. There was never more than one bird seen With the young. Thirty days seemed to be about the time necessary for the chicks to mature, as by July 20 fully fledged young were seen commonly about the tundra.

Mr. Buturlin (1907) says:

When I approached the breeding ground the old birds flew to meet mc, one after another, nn(l wheele(l around uttering low tremulous notes of various kinds. These calls were evidently meant for tile yooag and bad different meanings. When the female Is with them (and you must sit watching for an hour or more to observe this), the little ones are somewhat shy and take refuge under her. If you make the slightest movement she flies up, uttering the usual kirip, an(l kicks the young forwards, never backwards, until they tumble head over heels 5 or 6 Inches away. There they lie as if dead, but with open eyes, and the mother flies around uttering a low tremulous kirip, kirip, trip, trrrrrr, evidently meaning “lie quite still.” Then she alights near the young and runs about feigning lameness, while trying in every way to make you attempt to capture her. If, however, you keep quite quiet she becomes reassured, npproaches near to where her young are, and utters with tender modulations,, day-day-day, which means evidently “all right, come here.” Then the chicks commence to chirp peep, pccp, peeyp, and run to their mother. On one occasion I observed all this at a distance of about 10 paces, and once I was only about 3 paces from theji. Tile downy young know their mother’s call day-daqj-day so well that on one occasion a young bird, which I was taking home in my butterfly net, when it heard a female call quite close to me, climbed out of the net to rejoin her.

Mr. Brandt in his manuscript notes writes:

The potential energy stored up In the small richly colored eggs of this northern sandpiper Is almost beyond comprehension. The downy chicks, as soon as they are out of the shell, show wonderful activity. When they are but 30 minutes old, their apparently slight legs carry them over the ground with great rapidity. They know at birth how to hide among the hummocks and vegetation so as to defy the sharpest eyes. In three weeks they are awing and six weeks Inter they are off on their long journey to the south, crossing mighty mountain ridges, great stretches of land and of sea.

According to XV. H. Hudson (1920). the pectoral sandpiper arrives in the La Plata region, in southern South America, about the end of August, and he writes:

Among these first comers there are some young birds, so immature, with threads of yeilow down still adhering to the feathers of the head, and altogether weak in appearance, that one can scarcely credit the fact that so soon after being hatched they have actually performed the stupendous journey from the northera extremity of the North American continent to the Buenos-Ayreaa pampas.

Plumages: The young pectoral in down is a beauty and is distinctively colored. The forehead, back to the eyes, lores, sides of the head and neck, and the breast are from “cinnamon buff”to “cream buff,” paling to white or grayish white on the throat and belly. There is a broad, black, median stripe from the crown to the bill, a narrow, black loral stripe, which is joined by another, still narrower, malar stripe under the eye, extending to the auriculars; below the ear is a dark-brown spot. In the center of the crown is a black spot, surrounded by a circle of buffy white dots; around this the crown is a mixture of black and “burnt sienna,” bordered with huffy white, except in front; and around this border. or along each side of it, is a narrow st.ripe of blackish brown above the huffy silperciliary stripe. The nape is grizzly brown, buff, and whitish. The back, wings, and thighs are variegated with black, “chestnut,” and “burnt sienna,” and decorated with small dots of huffy white in an irregular pattern.

The juvenal plumage is much like that of the summer adult, except that the feathers of the mantle, scapulars, and the median and lesser wing coverts are edged with brighter colors, “tawny,” “ochraceous-buff,” and creamy white; and the breast is more buffy or yellowish. This plumage is apparently worn all through the fall and winter or until the first prenuptial molt in February and March, when the body plumage is renewed. At the first postnuptial molt, the next summer, the young bird becomes indistinguishable from the adult, having molted the entire plumage.

Adults have a partial prenuptial molt in the spring, from February to June, which involves the body plumage, except the back and rump and some of the scapulars, tertials, and wing coverts. The complete postnuptial molt of adults is much prolonged; the body molt begins in August, but the wings are not molted until the bird reaches its winter home, beginning in October and often lasting until February. Two adult females taken by Doctor Wetmore (1926) on September 9 in Paraguay “were in worn breeding plumage with no indication of molt.” And one shot in Uruguay February 8 had renewed all but a few feathers of the entire plumage, while a male taken the same day was molting its primaries. There is very little difference between the summer and winter plumages; the feather edging~ of the upper parts are more rufous in summer and more ashy in winter.

Food: According to Preble and McAtee (1923), the contents of 21 well-filled gizzards of this species consisted principally of “flies (Diptera), 54.5 per cent; amphipods, 22.3 per cent; vegetable matter, chiefly algae, 10.5 per cent; beetles, 8 per cent; Hymenoptera, 2.1 per cent; and bugs (llemiptera), 1.3 per cent.” Other things eaten were mites, spiders, and caddis fly larvae and a few seeds of grass, lupine, and violet. P. L. Hatch (1892) says that “their food is principally crickets in spring, interlarded with various dry-land larvae, small bettles, and ground worms. In the fall the grasshoppers are first chosen, after which crickets and whatever other insects prevail at this season.” Birds taken by B. S. Bowdish (1902) in Porto Rico had eaten fiddler crabs. Pectoral sandpipers feed mainly in grassy meadows, more or less dry, and their food is chiefly insects.

Behavior: On the grassy salt meadows, where we usually find it, I have often been impressed with the resemblance of this sandpiper and the Wilson snipe, both in appearance and in behavior. It is often found in wisps or scattered flocks, the individuals widely separated and crouching in the grass. Often it flushes close at hand with a startling harsh cry and dashes hurriedly away with a zig-zag flight. Sometimes it flutters away for only a short distance and drops quickly into the grass. Again it makes a long flight, circling high in the air and then pitches down suddenly in some distant part of the marsh, or perhaps near the starting point. Though erratic at first, the flight is swift and direct when well under way. They sometimes fly in flocks like other sandpipers, but more often they are flushed singly. They usually flock by themselves but are sometimes associated, purely fortuitously I believe, with other species that frequent similar feeding grounds, such as Wilson snipe, Baird, least or semipalmated sandpipers.

The pectoral sandpiper has another snipe-like habit of standing motionless in the grass, relying on its concealing coloration, where its striped plumage renders it almost invisible, even in plain sight. It moves about slowly while feeding, probing in the mud with rapid strokes. Often it stands perfectly still with its head held high, watching an intruder; the dark markings on its neck end abruptly on the white breast, breaking up the outline and helping the bird to fade into the background. It is occasionally seen swimming across a narrow creek or channel.

Voice: This is a rather noisy bird, especially so on its breeding ground, and its short, sharp flight notes are quite characteristic of the “creaker.” Mr. Nichols contributes the following good description of them:

The notes of the pectoral sandpiper have a reedy character, intermediate In tone between the clearer calls of most shore birds and the hoarse cry of the Wilson’s snipe. This is in keeping with its habits. Its characteristic flight note Is a loud reedy kerr, resembling that of the semipalmated sandpiper (cl&erk) more closely than any other shore bird call, but recognizably heavier. Rarely In flight, the kerr varies into or is replaced by a near-whistled kim. On being flushed it often has hoarse, hurried cheeping notes, analogous with similar harsher notes of the Wilson’s snipe. When In a ilcA of Its own kind, alert and on the move, it has a short, snappy flocking note, a chorus of tcAep8 or cftips. To my ear its flushing note is more or less a combination of flight note and flocking note, and It may reasonably be so. The flocking note communicates alertness to nearby members of a flock; the flight note Is used more emphatically by birds separated from their companions or In active flight and disposed for companionship, whereas on being flushed the bird Is signalling to possible companions; but as It has been feeding singly, concealed from such others as there may be by the grass, their distance Is uncertain.

Field marks: The pale-gray, almost white, tail with its dark, almost black, center and rump, is conspicuous in flight; a pale stripe in the wing is less noticeable. The snipelike colors of the upper parts, the dark, heavily streaked breast, contrasted sharply with the white under parts, and the short olive-yellow legs are good field marks when the bird is standing. The males are much larger than the females, which is unusual among shore birds.

Fall: Regarding their departure from their breeding grounds, Murdoch (1885) says:

After the breeding season, they keep very quiet and retired, like the rest of the waders, and the adults appear to slip quietly away without collecting Into flocks, as soon as the young are able to take care of themselves. As soon as the young have assumed the complete fall plumage, that is about the 10th of August, they gather In large flocks with the other young waders, especially about the small ponds on the high land below Cape Smythe, and stay for several days before they take their departure for the South. Stray birds remain as late as the first week of September.

On the New England coast the pectoral is both an early and a late migrant; a few adults sometimes appear in July and more come m August; but the main flight, mostly young birds, comes in September and October; they are often abundant in the latter month and I have seen them as late as October 31. When with us it is seldom seen on the sandy flats or beaches, but frequents the wet, fresh and salt meadows, preferably where the grass has been cut and which after a rain are covered with shallow pools of water. Here and along the margins of marshy creeks are its favorite feeding grounds. It does not decoy well and is no longer considered a game bird, but it has been popular with sportsmen for its gamy qualities and for the excellence of its flesh.

There is a marked southeastward trend in the fall migration of this species; from its breeding grounds in northern Alaslta and northeastern Siberia its main flight seems to be towards the Atlantic coast of the United States; it is not abundant and rather irregular on the Pacific coast south of Alaska; it is common at times in the interior of Canada and usually abundant in New England. It occasionally occurs in enormous numbers in Bermuda and seems to be always rare in Florida; these facts would seem to indicate an ocean route to South America.

Winter: The winter home of the pectoral sandpiper is in southern South America. Arthur H. Holland (1891) says that in the Argentine Republic, it is “usually found in marshy land with long water weeds abounding, frequenting the same spot for weeks together.” Between September and March 26, Doctor Wetmore (1926) recorded it as “fairly common” at various places in Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. It evidently spends over half the year in its winter home and maltes very rapid flights to and from its Arctic breeding grounds, where it makes a short visit of about two months.

Range: Northeastern Siberia, and North and South America; accidental in the Hawaiian Islands and the British Isles.

Breeding range: The pectoral sandpiper breeds mainly on the Arctic coasts of Alaska and Mackenzie. North to Siberia (Kolyma Delta); Alaska (Cape Lisburne, Cape Sinythe, Point Barrow, Colville delta, Collinson Point, Barter Island, and Demarcation Point); Yukon (Herschel Island); northeastern Mackenzie (Cambridge Bay) ; and northeastern Manitoba (York Factory). East to northeastern Manitoba (York Factory). South to Manitoba (York Factory) ; Mackenzie (Clinton-Colden Lake and Lac de Gras); and Alaska (Tacotna Forks and Hooper Bay). West to Alaska (looper Bay, Fort Clarence, Point Hope, and Cape Lisburne); and northeastern Siberia (Kolyma Delta). It has also been reported in summer at Fort Anderson and Bernard Harbor, Mackenzie, and in northwestern Greenland (Cape Hatherton).

Summer occurrence outside the range above outlined are Keewatin (Cape Eskimo); Manitoba (Button Bay); southwestern Alaska (Nushagak); and northeastern Siberia (Cape Serdze, and Nijni Kolymsk).

Winter range: Soutb America. North to Ecuador (near Quito); Bolivia (Falls of the Madeira, San Luis, and Caiza); and Paraguay (Colonia Risso). East to Uruguay (Santa Elena); and Argentina (Buenos Aires, La Plata, Barracas, Chubut Valley, Port Desire, and Colonia Rouquand). South and west to Argentina (Colonia Rouquand). West also to Chile (Santiago, Huasco, Antofagasta, Atacama, and Tarapaca); Peru (Chorillos and Junin); and Ecuador (near Quito).

Spring migration: Early dates of arrival are: Florida, Fort De Soto, February 22, and Orange Hammock, February 25; Alabama, Greensboro, March 20; South Carolina, Frogmore, March 20; North Carolina, Raleigh, March 21; District of Columbia, Washington, March 26; Pennsylvania, Carlisle, March 28, Beaver, April 1, and Harrisburg, April 7; New York, Canandaigua, April 14, Buffalo, April 18, Gaines, May 5, and Orient, May 7; Massachusetts, Thompson’s Island, March 30, Monomoy Island, April 11, and Dennis, April 16; Maine, Scarboro, April 13; Quebec, Quebec, May 2; Louisiana, Lake Borgne, March 12, New Orleans, March 18, and Baton Rouge Parish, March 19; Mississippi, Biloxi, February 28; Arkansas, Glenwood, March 27; Kentucky, Bowling Green, April 29; Missouri, St. Louis, March 2, Warrenburg, March 11, Fayette, March 10, and Independence, March 18; Illinois, Englewood, March 9, Rantoul, March 14, Mount Carmel, March 15, Canton, March 20, and Chicago, March 29; Indiana, Bloomington, March 15, Terre Haute, March 17, Bicknell, March 18, and Greencastle, March 22; Ohio, Columbus, March 1, New Bremen, March 24, Columbus, March 25, Oberlin, March 25, Cincinnati, March 28, and Youngstown, March 31; Michigan, Ann Arbor, April 8, and Detroit, April 12; Ontario, Ottawa, AprIl 27, and Fort Williams, May 10; Iowa, Keokuk, March 14, La Porte, March 25, Sigourney, March 26, and Des Moines, March 31; Wisconsin, Milwaukee, March 26, and Madison, March 31; Minnesota, Heron Lake, April 1, Hutchinson, April 5, and Wilder, April 6; Texas, Santa Maria, February 28, Houston, March 7, and Hidalgo, March 16; Oklahoma, Ponca City, March 31; Kansas, Topeka, March 29, and McPherson, April 9; Nebraska, Lincoln, March 10; South Dakota, Sioux Falls, April 10, and Forest.. burg, April 20; North Dakota, Charlson, April 27; Manitoba, Pilot Mound, May 1, iReaburn, May 9, and Margaret, May 9; Saskatchewan, Lake Johnston, May 9; Mackenzie, Sturgeon River, May 12, Fort Providence, May 14, Fort Simpson, May 16, and Fort Resolution, May 19; Colorado, Denver, April 21; Montana, Fergus County, April 22; Washington, Menlo, April 1; Yukon, Fortymile, May 16, and Dawson, May 19; and Alaska, Bethel, May 4, St. Michael, May 15, Demarcation Point, May 23, Kowak River, May 27, and Point Barrow, May 30.

Late dates of spring departure are: Costa Rica, Buenos Aires de Terrabe, May 29, and San Jose, May 19; Florida, Fort De Soto, May 20; Pennsylvania, Doylestown, May 27; New Jersey, Elizabeth, May 30; New York, Canandaigua, May 24; Massachusetts, near Boston, June 3; Louisiana, New Orleans, May 20; Mississippi, Bay St. Louis, May 10; Arkansas, Arkansas City, May 15; Kentucky, Bowling Green, May 11; Missouri, Lake Taney Coma, May 7, St. Louis, May 11, and Columbia, May 15; Illinois, Elgin, May 12, Addison, May 17, La Grange, May 17, Havana, May 24, and Chicago, June 18; Indiana, Greencastle, May 4, Lyons, May 6, Crawfordsville, May 8, and Bloomington, May 9; Ohio, Tiffin, May 15, Oberlin, May 20, Columbus, May 21, and Youngstown, May 24; Michigan, Detroit, May 13, Hillsdale, May 17, and Ann Arbor, May 19; Ontario, Ottawa, May 25; Iowa., Lake Okoboji, May 27, Emmetsburg,. May 28, Sioux City, May 30, and Forest City, May 31; Wisconsin, Elkborn, May 14, and Madison, May 19; Minnesota, Heron Lake, May 16, Minneapolis, May 18, Hutchinson, May 19, and Hallock, May 28; Texas; Sweetwater, May 8, Corpus Christi, May 11, and Decatur, May 19; Kansas, Fort Riley, May 24, and Onaga, May 24; Nebraska, Valentine, May 17, and Neligh, May 26; South Dakota, Vermilion, May 12, and Sioux Falls, June 11; North Dakota, Charlson, May 11; Manitoba, Winnipeg, May 24, and Shoal Lake, June 2; Montana, Big Sandy, May 18; and Washington, Fort Steilacoom, May 5.

Fall migration: Early dates of fall arrivals are: British Columbia, Okanagan Landing, July 16; Washington, Tacoma, August 17; California, Redwood City, August 22; Montana, Sweetgrass Hills, August 11; Wyoming, Yellowstone Park, July 19; Colorado, Denver, July 28; Mackenzie, Fort Wrigley, July 19; Saskatchewan, Milk River, July 16, and Big Stick Lake, July 18; Manitoba, Moosejaw, July 7; North Dakota, Charlson, July 20; South Dakota, Forestburg, July 8, Huron, July 15; Nebraska, Valentine, August 8; Texas, Brownsville, August 2, Tivoli, August 8; Minnesota, Minneapolis, July 15, Lanesboro, July 18, and St. Vincent, July 24; Wisconsin, Madison, July 22, North Freedom, July 25, and Racine, July 30; Iowa, Marshalitown, July 8, and Wall Lake, July 23; Ontario, Toronto, July 14, and Todmorden, July 23; Michigan, Detroit, July 14, and Charity Islands, July 27; Ohio, Dayton, July 20, Bay Point, July 24, Painesville, July 25, and North Lima, July 27; Illinois, Chicago, July 2, and La Grange, July 27; Mississippi, Bay St. Louis, July 15, and Beauvoir, July 26; Nova Scotia, Digby, July 26; New Brunswick, Scotch Lake, August 9; Maine, Pittsfield, July 26; Massachusetts, Marthas Vineyard, July 11; New York, Syracuse, July 2, Orient, July 4, Rochester, July 10, and East Hampton, July 11; New Jersey, Elizabeth, July 14, and Camden, August 16; Pennsylvania, Beaver, August 6; District of Columbia, Washington, August 10; Virginia, Chincoteague, August 1; South Carolina, Mount Pleasant, July 21, and Frogmore, August 1; Alabama, Leighton, July 24; Florida, Fort De Soto, July 25, and Key West, July 26; Bermuda, Penistons Pond, August 3; Bahama Islands, Fortune Island, August 5; Porto Rico, Guayanilla, August 24; West Indies, Barbados, August 16, Guadeloupe, September 2, and St. Croix, September 14; Lower California, San Jose del Cabo, September 2; Guatemala, Duenas, September 2; Costa Rica, San Jose, September 7; and Colombia, Santa Marta, September 14.

Late dates of fall departure are: Alaska, St. George Island, October 3, Unalaska, October 5, St. Paul Island, October 8, and Nushagak, October 15; British Columbia, Comox, October 15, Chilliwak, October 19, and Okanagan Landing, November 5; Washington, Nisqually Flats, November 6, and Simiahmoo, November 1; Oregon, Cold Springs Bird Reserve, October 27: California, Oaldand, October 8; Lower California, San Jose del Cabo, October 24; Costa Rica, La Estrella de Cartago, November 5; Montana, Flathead Lake, October 20, and Terry, October 21; Idaho, Deer Flat, November 1; Colorado, Barr, October 5; Mackenzie, Slave River, September 29, and Blackwater, October 7; Manitoba, Winnipeg, October 18, and ‘~Vinnipeg, October 29; South Dakota Wall Lake, October 14, and Sioux Falls, November 5; Nebraska, Lincoln, November 4; Minnesofa, Hallock, October 16, and St. Vincent, October 25; Wisconsin, Madison, October 11; Iowa, Marshailtown, November 18, and Keokuk, November 24; Ontario, London, October 16, Toronto, October 27, and Ottawa, November 5; Michigan, IIillsdale, October 6, Bay City, October 21, and Detroit, October 29; Ohio, Youngstown, November 5, Dayton, November 18, and Columbus, November 28; Indiana, Lafayette, October 5. and Bicknell, November 1; Illinois, Chicago, October 3, and Lawrenceville, November 13; Quebec, Montreal, November 1, Quebec, November 10, and Anticosti Island, November 12; Maine, Lewiston, October 13, and Pittsfield, November 10; Massachusetts, Lynn, October 28, Harvard, October 30, and Monomoy Island, November 1; New York, Long Beach, November 7, Keuka, November 12, and Branchport, November 23; New Jersey, Camden, November 8; Pennsylvania, Erie, October 31, and Carlisle, November 2; District of Columbia, Anacostia, November 1; North Carolina, Raleigh, November 15; Florida, Lake Jackson, November 22, and Palma Sola, November 29; and Bermuda, St. George, October 9.

Casual records: The pectoral sandpiper has been taken twice in the Hawaiian Islands, Koahualu, August 6, 1900, and October 14, 1900; once at Hopedale, Labrador; and several times in Greenland, in summer and fall. Observed in Labrador, Rigolet, June 24 to July 8, 1882, and Davis Inlet, July 18, 1883. In Europe it has apparently been detected only in the British Isles, where there are several records from Scotland and Ireland and the southern counties of England.

Egg dates: Alaska: 16 records, May 27 to July 3; 8 records, June 2 to 18. Arctic Canada: 3 records, June 10 to 30.

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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