English Name Stilt Sandpiper
Scientific Name Calidris himantopus
German Name Bindenstrandläufer
Spanish Name Correlimos Zancolin
French Name Bécasseau à échasses
Stilt Sandpiper
Peters Family Name SCOLOPACIDAE(Eroliinae):Sandpipers Order 1567.0
Sibley Monroe Family Name SCOLOPACIDAE(Tringinae):Sandpipers,Curlews,Phalaropes Order 3078.0
Gill Family Name SCOLOPACIDAE:Woodcocks,Snipes,Sandpipers,Phalaropes Order 1484.0
New 2013 Family Name SCOLOPACIDAE,Arenariinae:Turnstones and Stints Order 1597.0
English Synonyms
$Limicola falcinellus rogersi Mathews,1917,Austral Avian Record,3,p.70.(Siberia and Melville Island,Northern Territory.) New name for the bird described and figured in Birds Austr.,3,pp.279,280,pl.165.
Authority (Bonaparte 1826)
Habitat sedge tundra near water,moist tundra with willow growth & high dry slopes,often near wooded borders of taiga;non-br.frshwater wetlands,flooded fields,ponds & pools,sewage lagoons,freshwater or brackish marshes;rarely on coast.
Breeding Laying early June in Victoria.
Nature Of Migration In The Species
Long-distance migrant between breeding grounds in the New World Arctic and wintering grounds in South America. In main route across interior North America, specific stopping places at any season vary annually in response to water conditions. Rare but regular in Pacific and Atlantic Coast states in spring. In fall, at least small numbers are usually detected in every state of U.S.
Timing And Routes Of Migration
Northward movement evident in n. South America (Surinam, Venezuela) in March-mid-May, evidently followed by nonstop flight to Gulf Coast (Texas, Louisiana) and perhaps as far as Kansas. In South America, larger concentrations occur in Venezuela than in Surinam, showing that northward route is to west of southward track. Rare or almost absent in many parts of Central America, but uncommon to common on the Atlantic slope and in the interior of Mexico.
In North America, main spring migration passes through all central states on a track trending from Louisiana and Texas to North Dakota, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and, ultimately, to central and west Arctic. Concentrations in Louisiana and Texas, Kansas, and N. Dakota and Saskatchewan, but not elsewhere, indicate that movements involve hops of hundreds of miles. When water conditions are suitable, Cheyenne Bottoms, Kansas, has been major concentration point in U.S.: high count 54,900 on 11 May 1986. On Atlantic Coast, fairly common in Florida (flocks as large as 5,000), uncommon north to Virginia (flocks of more than 200 reported from South Carolina coast), and rarely in New Jersey, where route turns northwestward, presumably toward Hudson Bay. Regular at southern end of Salton Sea, California, with maximum numbers in mid-May reaching 600, casual elsewhere on Pacific Coast.
Arrives in southern states in early March Texas & Arkansas to late May Oklahoma. Main passage through west Texas (Playa Lakes region) peaks 15-25 May; Kansas late Aprillate May, peak 10-15 May (ISS); through Prairie Provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta) 10 May-10 Jun, peak 15-30 May; most common in west-central U.S. and western portions of Prairie Provinces. Quill Lakes, Saskatchewan, is a major spring staging area; high count 12,625, at Little Quill Lake, 23 May 1990. Pinel et al. (1991) reported unspecified thousands in Chauvin-Provost, Alberta, area in 1980s; specific count 10,000, at Gillespie Lake, 21 May 1988. From south Canada, continues nonstop to arctic breeding grounds.
Recent estimates (2002-2003) of numbers migrating through the Prairie Pothole region of the midwestern USA (North and South Dakota, west Minnesota - 302 km2), using stratified random sampling methods, confirmed this region for migration concentrations and found peak migration periods of 24 April to 25 May (spring) and 20 July to 13 August (fall); estimates of 285,440 ± 96,597 Southeast individuals during spring 2002-2003, averaged), and 450,825 ± 212,536 during southward (fall) migration (in 2002), boosting estimates of overall numbers of this species considerably.
Arrives at Churchill, Manitoba, mainly 28 May-6 June, rarely mid-June; at Victoria I., 31 May-3 June; and near Pt. McIntyre, Alaska, late May-early June.
Failed breeders depart nesting grounds in late June; successful postbreeding females in early to mid-July, males in mid- to late July, and juveniles in late July-early September (average arrival date of juveniles at Winnipeg, Manitoba, 18 August. Main flight of adults southward largely retraces northward route, but more widespread, with some adults occurring in mid-Atlantic states (mainly Long I., New York, to Virginia). Juveniles have similar route, but fan out across the entire continent.
In Canada, flies across short grass of w. Prairie Provinces (high fall count at Quill Lakes, Saskatchewan, 21,600, 24 July 1986), then south through Great Plains to North Dakota (high count at Minnewaukan Flats, Benson County, 22,000, 11 Aug 1992), Kansas (high count at Cheyenne Bottoms 29,511, 26 July 1981, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas. Saskatchewan–Kansas area inferred to be major staging area, because peak counts there (>21,000) are far greater than farther south in central U.S. (maximum about 3,000).
Adults arrive Saskatchewan-Kansas area first week of July via nonstop flight from vicinity of breeding areas. Adult migration peaks there in third week of July. Juvenile migration peaks 8-16 August (high at Cheyenne Bottoms, Kansas, 28,778, on 8 August 1991). Arrive Playa Lakes, west Texas, 15 July, with most significant numbers over a protracted period 15 August to 15 October.
No evidence of any significant flight through James Bay. Birds reaching Atlantic Coast may follow it south to Florida and Caribbean; highest count in Florida 6,800, 29 July 1984. Small numbers occur throughout west U.S.; although this species is scarce in the arid mountain West (Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico), occurs regularly at Salton Sea, California. Fairly common along Atlantic slope of east Mexico though not elsewhere in Central America, suggesting that bulk of the population undertakes over-water flight from s. U.S. to Cuba, Puerto Rico (Cabo Rojo salt flats are important staging area; high count 1,674, 1 October 1989; also Jobos Bay estuary, Trinidad (rare or uncommon, and n. South America (Colombia, Venezuela), principally Surinam, where recorded sometimes in the thousands.
First adults arrive n. South America 1 Augus; peak mid-August ; first juveniles arrive mid- to late September. Many birds evidently interrupt migration to molt in this general region before continuing to ultimate wintering grounds. Some winter in Mexico, Caribbean, and n. South America, but majority move southward through interior of South America to wintering areas (e.g., Bolivia, Paraguay, north Argentina), some arriving mid- to late August. Individuals color-marked in Saskatchewan in fall have been resighted in New Jersey, Texas, and Venezuela.
Migratory Behavior
On main migration route, thought to migrate in flocks of several birds, although spring concentrations suggest possibility of larger groups. W. Rowan (1927) reported groups of 20-25 in Alberta; usually arrive on breeding ground near Churchill, Manitoba, in flocks more than10. Long nonstop migrations require flying by day and night.
Control And Physiology
Birds captured at Quill Lakes, Saskatchewan, in spring do not remain long, and have more than sufficient fat to fly nonstop to breeding grounds; no evidence of mass gain at this phase of migration (maximum mass 77.4 g, n = 78). On breeding grounds, birds are heaviest at or soon after arrival (males 61 g, n = 30, females 70 g, n = 18. Mass declines through breeding season to about 52 g in males and 54 g in females by early-mid-July. No evidence of fattening before departure. Adults, presumably from western edge of range, migrate through west Prairie Provinces.

Mass of adults upon arrival at Quill Lakes, Saskatchewan, probably 45-50 g (minimum 41.8. Adults remain at Quill Lakes staging areas 4-13 d (mean 8); average mass gain 1.8 g/d (maximum 2.4g). Departure mass about 95 g (maximum 103.5 [female, as determined by measurements]. Heaviest birds amass sufficient fat to fly nonstop to s. U.S. or n. South America. Wintering birds (November-January) maintain low body mass in Suriname (about 45-50 g). Heaviest spring migrant in Venezuela (63 g) had estimated flight range of 2,000 km; thus, could power flight to s. Florida but not Gulf Coast of U.S.
Thanks to Klima, Joanna and Joseph R. Jehl, Jr. 2012. Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.) species no. 341