Nonbreeding adult © Ryan Schain eBird S77062386 Macaulay Library ML 285293751
Nonbreeding adult © Kojo Baidoo
Breeding adult © Andrew Spencer
Breeding adult © Christian Briand
Nonbreeding adult © Patrick Maurice
+ 4
Molting adult © Ethan Denton
Juvenile © Peter Kennerley
Habitat © Jared Keyes

Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima

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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 south to the mid-Atlantic region in North America and the Iberian Peninsula in Europe; found in flocks on rocky coastlines and jetties pounded by heavy surf.