This sparrow-sized sandpiper has black legs and a relatively long, black bill which
droops at the tip. Breeding plumage shows rufous on the crown, scapulars and ear coverts
and chevron marks on the breast and sides. In nonbreeding plumage, adult Western
Sandpipers are gray above with lightly streaked white breasts and white superciliums.
Juveniles have rufous coloration on the scapulars.
Western Sandpipers can be difficult to identify, especially in nonbreeding plumage.
Their wingtips do not extend past the tail which eliminates Bairds
and White-rumped sandpipers. Unlike the Semipalmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper bills are longer and
have a drooped tip. Be aware that the bills of male Western and female Semipalmated
sandpipers can overlap in length. Western Sandpipers tend to probe more and are more often
found in the water than Semipalmated Sandpipers.
Sandpipers are often seen in large flocks. They primarily nest on the tundra of western
Alaska and winter on beaches and mudflats along the coasts of the United States to