Fun Baird's Sandpiper Facts For Kids

Mellisa Nair
Feb 29, 2024 By Mellisa Nair
Originally Published on Aug 18, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Check out these interesting Baird's sandpiper facts from North America including its bird ID, range, habitats, calls, and description.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

This article will tell you everything you need to know about a special species of shorebirds, including details about their physical description, range, diet, conservation status, habitats, migration pattern, calls, nesting, feeding, and breeding habits!

The Baird's sandpiper is a small to medium-sized wader or shorebird from the order Charadriiformes, family of Scolopacidae, and the genus Calidris. The word Calidris is derived from the Greek words 'kalidris' or 'skalidris' and was used by Aristotle, the Greek philosopher to describe gray shorebirds found along the coastlines. Its scientific name, Calidris bairdii, was given to the species by Elliott Ladd Coues, an American ornithologist in 1861. The first half of the common name was given to the species in honor of Spencer Fullerton Baird, an American naturalist, ornithologist, ichthyologist, herpetologist, and museum curator, whereas the second half- sandpiper contrary to popular belief comes from the birds' vocals, rather than its elongated bill. These birds are known for their incredible camouflage defense that helps them avoid predators by confusing them! These birds can be found in South and North America, the Arctic, Siberia, and the Atlantic coast.

Learn about some other birds from our Australian pelican facts and green heron facts pages.

Baird's Sandpiper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is Baird's sandpiper?

The Baird's sandpiper (Calidris bairdii) is a shorebird belonging to the Animalia kingdom.

What class of animal does Baird's sandpiper belong to?

The Baird's sandpiper (Calidris bairdii) belongs to the Aves class and the family Scolopacidae.

How many Baird's sandpipers are there in the world?

According to the Canadian Wildlife Service, the population of this species is thought to be around 300,000 birds. However, this statement has not been confirmed as true or false.

Where do Baird's sandpipers live?

The Baird's sandpiper range includes North America, Canada, the Atlantic coast, it is uncommon in western Europe but is occasionally spotted. This bird breeds in the Arctic tundra regions of eastern Siberia and western Greenland, and nests in dry locations with sparse vegetation. It's a long-distance migrant and during migration, it often gathers in flocks near the Great Plains and then flies non-stop, traveling as far as 3,800 mi (6115 km) to South America for winters.

What is a Baird's sandpiper's habitat?

Baird's sandpipers (Calidris bairdii) mostly prefer open habitats such as dry sandy shores, mudflats, open and flooded fields. The breeding habitats or a habitat nest is usually in dry, upland high Arctic tundra, where vegetation is sparse and low. In the course of migration, it is found at high elevation lakes, rain pools, lakes, and rivers. After the breeding season, the North American birds migrate to the grasslands in South America during winters, through the Great Plains. Migrants use prairies, grasslands, rain pools, muddy edges of lakes and rivers, and many other habitat types, both dry and moist.

Who do Baird's sandpipers live with?

This species of sandpipers are solitary and mostly found alone or in small flocks. The flock size can be larger in regions where they are not uncommon. They typically hunt or forage alone to avoid competing with others for food near sandy beaches, mudflats, or in areas with limited vegetation. They also often forage in shallow waters, birds in the mountains feed on snowbanks.

How long does Baird's sandpiper live?

These birds have a life span of 7-12 years.

How do they reproduce?

This species breeds after winter across North America, and the high-Arctic tundra, and migration within the range takes place a short while before the mating season begins. Before the breeding season begins, when grounds are partially covered with snow males form a small group and stay close to each other, perhaps to attract females. The female birds finally arrive after the snow melts, and males separate themselves from the group and begin to claim territories and attract a partner by displaying dramatic aerial acts and songs. The male birds try to overshadow each other by performing in each others' territory! Their preferred nesting habitat is an area with rocks and low ground cover. The nests are mostly built by male birds. A Baird's sandpiper nest is shallow, lined with mold, grass, and leaves. After mating, females lay about three to five eggs in a single clutch. The eggs are pink-olive and covered with brown spots. Incubation is carried out by both parents and it lasts for 18-22 days. Nesting practices vary, but both parents help raise the young. However, the females take off to begin their long-distance migration before the males, who stay back to look after the chicks until their first flight, a young Baird's sandpiper juvenile takes about 17-21 days, to become fully independent. Their nesting habits are similar to various sandpiper species.

What is their conservation status?

The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species has classified them as a species of Least Concern. However, the ones that nest in the high-Arctic are vulnerable to the many negative effects and dangers of climate change.

Baird's Sandpiper Fun Facts

What do Baird's sandpipers look like?

Baird's sandpipers have different winter and summer habitats.

Adult Baird's sandpipers are medium-sized shorebirds that have fairly long black legs, a medium, a straight, fine-tipped, and thin bill (their bill is shaped this way to adapt to their feeding habits.) These shorebirds have a brown plumage and long wings covered with black spots, which sometimes appear longer than their tail, the head and breast have a lighter color with dark streaks, in winter these species have a paler brownish-gray plumage. The adult Baird's sandpiper is gray-brown and has lesser spots. A juvenile Baird's sandpiper is brown with white-edged feathers that give it a scaly appearance. Whereas the breeding Baird's sandpiper bird has a dark brown head and neck and is covered in black streaks, the wings have brownish-grey feathers. This bird can be difficult to distinguish and many people confuse them with other similar species of shorebirds such as the white-rumped sandpipers and sanderlings. The best way to differentiate is by carefully observing their physical characteristics, for example, white-rumped sandpipers are similar in size, shape, and markings but have a bold white rump, and sanderlings are fairly round and have a fatter body.

How cute are they?

The intricate markings, dark wings, medium-sized bills, and small bodies give them a cute appearance! They usually bob in a teetering motion to protect themselves from their predators just like a spotted sandpiper, which makes them look even cuter.

How do they communicate?

These birds communicate via vocalization and body language. They have several calls and songs to communicate with each other. The male birds are more vocal and use a soft 'krrrrt' call to communicate, and a louder sound 'peeeeps' to alert other birds of an approaching predator. The male birds put up performances during the breeding season to attract a female bird. They also fight each other to defend their territory. The female birds are mostly quiet.

How big is a Baird's sandpiper?

The Baird's sandpiper size is between 5.5-7.1 in (14-18 cm).

The trumpeter swan is nearly eight times the size of Baird's sandpiper.

How fast can a Baird's sandpiper fly?

This bird can fly nearly 45 mph (75 kph). During migration, it travels in a flock from the Great Plains and then flies without pausing up to 3,800 mi (6115 km) to the grasslands in South America.

How much does Baird's sandpiper weigh?

Adults weigh approximately 0.9-2.2 oz (27-63 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

They do not have individual names for their male and female birds, the birds of this species are simply denoted as males and females.

What would you call a baby Baird's sandpiper?

A baby Baird's sandpiper is called a chick.

What do they eat?

The diet of these birds includes small insects such as beetles and spiders, crustaceans. They forage on the ground by moving the soil, picking up any food they see. The ones that live at higher altitudes feed on snow-banks.

River otters and minks often steal their eggs and feed on them.

Are they poisonous?

No, these birds are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

These birds have not been domesticated yet, because they are wild, migratory, and slightly aggressive. Therefore, these birds would not make good pets.

Did you know...

These birds are collectively known as peeps or stints.

There are around 98 species of sandpipers.

Baird's sandpipers are highly migratory just like their close relative- the pectoral sandpipers!

How did Baird's sandpiper get its name?

They got their name in honor of Spencer Fullerton Baird, an American naturalist, for his contribution as an ornithologist, ichthyologist, herpetologist, and a museum curator!

What's the difference between a sandpiper and a sanderling?

Let's discuss Baird's sandpiper vs sanderling since many people have doubts regarding whether a sanderling and a sandpiper are the same or not. Well, a sanderling is indeed a plump, and medium-sized sandpiper. However, they have jet-black legs and a prominent beak. The non-breeding adults have a white and pale gray plumage. Whereas, the breeding adults have a reddish-brown plumage.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our common murre facts and sanderling facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Baird's sandpiper coloring pages.

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Written by Mellisa Nair

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Mellisa Nair picture

Mellisa NairBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Specializing in the creation of SEO-friendly content, Mellisa brings enthusiasm and expertise to our team. Her work in digital marketing and social media is complemented by her academic background in economics and English literature, as she holds a Bachelor's degree in these subjects from Wilson College Chowpatty, Mumbai. Mellisa's experience working with clients from various industries, including retail, education, and technology, reflects her ability to adapt her skills to different contexts and audiences.

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