Semipalmated Sandpipers are sparrow-sized with black legs and a short, straight
bill. In nonbreeding plumage, they are plain gray-brown above with fine dark streaks
across the breast, a brown loral stripe and white supercilium. The breeding plumage shows
more mottling with dark brown and black above and a few dark streaks on the sides.
Semipalmated Sandpipers can be difficult to distinguish from other small
sandpipers. Their wing tips do not extend past the tail, which distinguishes them from White-rumped and Bairds
sandpipers. Western Sandpiper bills are usually longer,
thinner and have a drooped tip. However, the bills of male Western and female Semipalmated
sandpipers can overlap in length. The Semipalmated Sandpipers black legs and larger
size distinguish it from the Least Sandpiper. Smaller size
and black legs distinguish it from the Pectoral Sandpiper.
Sandpipers breed on the low arctic tundra and winter on mudflats, sandy beaches and
freshwater lakes and ponds of Suriname, Guyana and northern Brazil. They are highly
gregarious and flocks can be large.