Calidris Subruficollis – Buff-Breasted Sandpiper

Calidris Subruficollis - Buff-Breasted Sandpiper found in the US

Calidris subruficollis is a tiny shorebird. Subruficollis is derived from the Latin words subrufus, “reddish” (from sub, “slightly,” and rufus, “rufous”), and collis, “-necked/-throated” (from collum, “neck”). It is a sandpiper of the calidrid family.

Quick Overview: Calidris Subruficollis – Buff-Breasted Sandpiper
Body size: Around 7.5-8.5 in (19-22 cm) and a weight of 117 g (4.12 oz)
Main colors: Black, Brown, White, Yellow
Range: Eastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: September, October, November, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Buff-breasted Sandpiper Description

This medium-sized sandpiper is entirely buff except for the white vent. Its upperparts are black-spotted and streaked brown, while the underparts are slightly scaled. It also has a white eye-ring, a black bill, and yellow legs.

Calidris Subruficollis - Buff-Breasted Sandpiper found in the US
Calidris Subruficollis – Buff-Breasted Sandpiper. Photo by : Caleb Putnam


These birds have a length of 7.5-8.5 in (19-22 cm) and a weight of 117 g (4.12 oz). Their wings could range from 16-17 in (41-43 cm).


The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is an omnivore that has been observed eating flies, midges, crane flies, beetles, spiders, and seeds from water plants.


Grasslands and prairies, plowed fields, turf farms, and wet rice fields are preferred habitats; nests on Arctic tundra.


They feed primarily on the ground in grassy pastures; they seldom browse alongside bodies of water. During migration, this bird makes a mellow harsh call that sounds like “pr-r-r-reet.” Makes rapid clucking sounds during courtship.

Calidris Subruficollis Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Scolopacidae
  • Genus: Calidris
  • Species: Calidris subruficollis

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds are during Fall migration (September – December).

Distribution of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper in the USA

Breeds in extreme northern Alaska and western Canadian Arctic regions migrate through the Midwest and are seen on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts only infrequently.

The Buff-breasted Sandpiper can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Calidris Subruficollis – Buff-Breasted Sandpiper

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