Sandpipers Page 5

Pectoral Sandpiper

The Pectoral Sandpiper is 9 inches tall. The bird's coloring is brown with several darker streaks running along its' back. It contrasts the white belly that has no markings. The Pectoral Sandpiper likes to live in areas that are cooler. When they migrate, Pectoral Sandpipers like to live in moist, grassy areas. This includes grass lined pools and golf courses. The female Pectoral Sandpiper lays 4 eggs in a grass lined area. Both the male and female share the responsibility of keeping the eggs warm. Before the young are hatched, the male Pectoral Sandpiper begins its' migration to ensure that the young birds have enough food to eat. The females then begin their migration and the young are forced to survive on their own. For food, Pectoral Sandpipers eat insects. Pectoral Sandpipers are fairly commonly seen around the Outer Banks between the months of August through October.

Purple Sandpiper

The Purple Sandpiper reaches a height of 9 inches tall. In breeding season, the color of the Purple Sandpiper is streaked with brown and black streaks on the body. The body of the bird is also heavily spotted. In winter months, the bird is a gray color. Purple Sandpipers prefer to live in coastal areas. Purple Sandpipers are able to withstand the cold temperatures near the ocean during the winter months. The female Purple Sandpiper lays 4 eggs along the ground in a nest that is lined with grass and leaves. The Purple Sandpiper is considered one of the tamest shorebirds found. For food, Purple Sandpipers eat small mollusks and snails. Purple Sandpipers can be found along the Outer Banks during the months of November through May, but they are easily missed.


The Dunlin ranges between 8 and 9 inches tall. The bill of the bird curves slightly down. In breeding season, the male Dunlin has a distinctive rusty red back and a noticeable black patch on the stomach of the bird. The Dunlin can fly at an altitude as high as 100 feet in the air. When migrating, the Dunlin flies in packs that can be spotted doing aerial tricks in simultaneous motion. The female Dunlin lays between 2 and 4 eggs in the nest. The female Dunlin sits on the eggs during the day, and the male assumes the responsibility during the nighttime. Dunlin primarily eats insects. The Dunlin can be most commonly spotted along the Outer Banks the months of October through April.

Curlew Sandpiper

The Curlew Sandpiper is 8 inches tall. The main distinguishing feature of the Curlew Sandpiper is the noticeably curved bill. The Curlew Sandpiper is mainly a cinnamon red color during the summer and a dull gray color in the wintertime. The bright color and white rump area makes the bird easy to spot during the summer. In the wintertime, they are much less noticeable because their color blends in with many other types of shorebirds. The Curlew Sandpiper lives mainly in artic areas and when they migrate, they can be spotted living near coastal mudflats. Curlew Sandpipers only breed in the tundra. The female lays 4 eggs in a nest that is built along the ground. For food, the Curlew Sandpiper preys on insects. The Curlew Sandpiper is a very rare sight along North Carolina and the entire east coast of the United States.

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Terms: The Birds of the Outer Banks: Sandpipers Page 5

The Birds of the Outer Banks;Sandpipers Page 5

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