Schinz's Sandpiper

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Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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[White-rumped Sandpiper.]

[Calidris fuscicollis.]


Although I have met with this species at different times in Kentucky, and along our extensive shores, from the Floridas to Maine, as well as on the coast of Labrador, I never found it breeding. Indeed, I have not met with it in the United States excepting in the latter part of autumn and in winter. Those procured in Labrador were shot in the beginning of August, and were all young birds, apparently about to take their departure. My drawing of the two individuals represented in the plate was made at St. Augustine in East Florida, where I procured them on the 2nd of December, 1831. I have always found these birds gentle and less shy than any other species of the genus. They fly at a considerable height with rapidity, deviating alternately to either side, and plunge toward the ground in a manner somewhat resembling that of the Solitary Sandpiper. When accidentally surprised, they start with a repeated weet, less sonorous than that of the bird just mentioned. They search for food along the margins of pools, creeks and rivers, or by the edges of sand-bars, and mix with other species. TRINGA SCHINZII, Bonap. Syn., p. 249. TRINGA SCHINZII, Schinz's Sandpiper, Swains. and Rich. F. Bor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 384. SCHINZ'S SANDPIPER, Nutt. Man., vol. ii. p. 109. SCHINZ's SANDPIPER, Tringa Schinzii, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. iii. p. 529.

Male, 7 1/2, 14 3/4

From Labrador to St. Augustine in Florida, and Kentucky, during autumn. Missouri. Saskatchewan Plains. Not very rare. Migratory. Breeds in high northern latitudes.

Adult Male in winter.

Bill about the length of the head, slender, sub-cylindrical, straight, compressed at the base, the point slightly enlarged and rather obtuse. Upper mandible with the dorsal line straight, excepting at the tip, the ridge narrow and convex, broader and flattened towards the end, the sides sloping, the edges rather obtuse. Nasal groove extending to near the tip; nostrils basal, linear, pervious. Lower mandible with the angle long and extremely narrow, the dorsal line straight, the sides sloping outwards, the tip a little broader than that of the upper.

Head rather small, oblong, compressed. Neck of moderate length. Body rather slender. Feet rather long, slender; tibia bare a third part of its length; tarsus compressed behind, covered anteriorly and posteriorly with numerous scutella, which scarcely leave any intermediate space; hind toe extremely small; the rest of moderate length, slender, the fourth slightly longer than the second, the third longest; all free, there being only a very slight rudimentary web between the third and fourth, flat beneath, slightly marginate with rather pointed scales. Claws small, slightly arched, compressed, rather acute, that of the third toe much larger, with the inner edge dilated.

Plumage very soft, blended on the lower parts, the feathers distinct above. Wings very long, pointed; primaries tapering, obtuse, the first longest, the second almost equal, the rest rapidly graduated; outer secondaries incurved, narrow, obliquely sinuate at the end of the outer web, the inner rounded and extending beyond the outer; inner secondaries very narrow, tapering to a point, reaching, when the wing is closed, to about half an inch from its tip. Tail of moderate length, nearly even, but with the two middle feathers exceeding the rest, the number of feathers twelve.

Bill and feet dusky. Iris brown. The general colour of the upper parts is brownish-black, each feather edged with yellowish-grey, the scapulars with light red. Wing-coverts greyish-brown, the shaft black; primary and secondary coverts tipped with white; quills brownish-grey, darker towards the tips, the inner primaries and outer secondaries more or less edged and tipped with white; the tail-coverts white, with a dusky spot, excepting the two central, which are blackish, with a few greyish-white markings. Tailfeathers light grey, the two middle brownish-black towards the end. Sides of the head, fore neck, anterior part of breast and sides greyish-white, with small lanceolate central brownish-black spots; the rest of the lower parts white.

Length to end of tail 7 1/12 inches, to end of wings 7 7/12, to end of claws 7 9/12; extent of wings 14 3/4, bill along the back (10 1/2)/12, along the edge of lower mandible 11/12; wing from flexure 4 (10 1/2)/12; tail 2 2/12; tarsus 11/12; middle toe (9 1/2)/12, its claw 2/12.

Adult Female in winter.

The female is similar to the male, but a little smaller.

In some individuals, about six of the middle tail-coverts are black, the lateral barred with white and dusky.

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