Least Sandpiper – The World’s Smallest Shorebird

/, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Least Sandpipers, Pinellas County/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 Sandpiper – 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.



  1. Julie Brown August 4, 2012 at 7:22 pm

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

    • Mia McPherson August 6, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Thanks Julie, they can be a challenge as a subject.

  2. Tammy Karr August 4, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    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:)

    • Mia McPherson August 6, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Thanks so much Tammy. A gull standing next to one of these tiny beauties would make it look very small!

  3. Dan Huber August 4, 2012 at 11:47 am

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

  4. M. Firpi August 4, 2012 at 9:18 am

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

    • Mia McPherson August 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      Thank you Maria, they are fast moving, little characters!

  5. Carol Mattingly August 4, 2012 at 8:57 am

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

    • Mia McPherson August 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Carol, that white sand is wonderful at Fort De Soto! Thanks for your comment.

  6. Laurence Butler August 4, 2012 at 8:20 am

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

    • Mia McPherson August 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Laurence, they are always a joy to watch even though they are so small! Thanks for your comment.

  7. Kathleen Finnerty August 4, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Lovely image, Mia – great DOF!

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