Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla

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Tiny brownish sandpiper. At all ages, most easily distinguished from other small sandpipers by darker, more brownish coloration. Juveniles are particularly bright with rusty tones on the upperparts. Also note fine-tipped bill and yellowish legs, but beware legs can be covered with dark mud and other peeps (like Semipalmated Sandpiper) can rarely show slightly greenish legs. Habitat and behavior are helpful supporting clues, too. Typically forages in a crouched posture with bent legs, picking for invertebrates in the mud. Often in small loose groups, but not in large, tight flocks like Semipalmated or Western Sandpipers. Prefers drier mud, often on the higher edges of mudflats or small patches of water in marshes. Widespread and common, especially inland. Breeds in various wetland habitats throughout Alaska and Canada. Winters from the southern U.S. to South America. Listen for high-pitched, rolling “greeep!” calls.



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