Least Sandpiper – The World’s Smallest Shorebird

Least SandpiperLeast Sandpiper – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 160, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

Least Sandpipers (Calidris minutilla) are the world’s smallest shorebird, weighing in at a mere 0.7 ounces (20 g), a length of 6 inches and a wingspan of 13 inches. Least Sandpipers breed in wet low-Arctic locations from Alaska, the Yukon to Quebec and Newfoundland and they winter in southern North America south to Peru and Brazil.

Because of their small size and habit of feeding near vegetative cover they can be difficult to spot. Their prey consists of sand fleas, tiny mollusks, flies and a variety of other small terrestrial and aquatic prey.

The Least Sandpiper above was photographed in June of 2008 at Fort De Soto’s north beach where I found it well out in the open on the sand between two areas of Spartina marsh.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Pingback: Snowy Plovers – North America’s Smallest Plover

  2. Wow, what a tough little bird this must be-considering their tiny size and migration distance. Beautiful capture, Mia.

  3. Beautiful photo Mia! These little peeps are so tiny! I saw one once standing near a Ring-billed Gull and it made the gull look like a giant:)

  4. Great photo Mia. I never realized they were the smallest either. cool.

  5. I really like these little characters. I’ve seen them both in Florida and Puerto Rico. They move very swiftly.

  6. And it is without a doubt a beauty. That white sand looks so inviting. Carol

  7. I never knew that about the Least Sandpipers, but they are always a joy to watch. Nice shot!

  8. Lovely image, Mia – great DOF!

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