Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima

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Identification

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Plump, rock-loving shorebird with slightly droopy bill. Most often seen in nonbreeding plumage, which is fairly dark gray with spotted underparts. Namesake purple sheen (mostly on back, scapulars, and tertials) only visible at close distance in good light. Legs and base of bill usually bright orange. Messy-looking breeding plumage is darker and more heavily marked, with limited rusty tones on upperparts. Largely inaccessible breeding range on high Arctic tundra; most often seen in northern Europe, Spitsbergen, and Iceland. Winters at slightly lower latitudes, regularly to the mid-Atlantic states in the U.S. Hardy; found in flocks on rocky coastlines and jetties pounded by heavy surf.

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