Calidris ptilocnemis: Rock Sandpiper


Male Rock Sandpiper photo by Ryan Murphy

Rock sandpiper

Rock Sandpiper photo by Raisa Mirza


Inset from the photo below showing the rock sandpipers in the foreground. The larger birds are the surfbirds. Several Black Turnstones are also in the image below.


Click to enlarge to see the difference between the rock sandpipers and the surfbirds. There is also a black turnstone lower right:  Photo by Ryan Murphy

During the breeding season, rock sandpipers nest on the  dry, barren tundra. The rest of the year, they are  found on the rocky shores such as at Race Rocks


Photo by Ryan Murphy


Rock sandpiper- winter plumage , Nov 22, 2012:  Photo by Raisa Mirza

Behavior and feeding:

Rock Sandpipers are usually found singly, in small groups, or as can be seen above,  in flocks with black turnstones and surfbirds. Unlike the other birds in the photo, rock sandpipers do not get prey attached to the rock,  They move regularly pick up moving prey from the crevices and seaweed among the rocks. Rock Sandpipers are unusual in that they eat vegetable matter, including algae, or seeds as well as invertebrates.


Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Subphylum Vertebrata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae
Genus Calidris
Species ptilocnemis
Common Name: Rock Sandpiper
This file is provided as part of a collaborative effort by the students, faculty, staff and volunteers of Lester B. Pearson College February. 2009 Garry Fletcher