Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide

In winter the Purple Sandpiper has a dull grey head and neck with a dark back and white underside. It has a dumpy build with a long slightly curved bill.

Purple Sandpiper

Calidris maritima
Waders Menu
The Purple Sandpiper is usually seen feeding right at the waters edge of rocky, sea-weedy shores. A dark little bird, it is easily overlooked. It often has little fear of people and can be quite tame.
Order: Charadriiformes

Family: Scolopacidae

Genus:  Calidris

Species: C. maritima
The Purple Sandpiper's slightly curved bill is apparent in this image, also note the thin white wing bar and the white sides of the tail.
Adult Male & Female (Winter)
Adult Male & Female (Summer)
Breeding distribution
Probably breeding
Confirmed to be breeding in this area
Confirmed breeding sites
Breeding distribution of the Purple Sandpiper
Probably breeding
General distribution:
Breeds in Iceland and Scandinavia, a scarce breeder in the UK. More Widespread in winter around the coastlines of Northern Europe.
Breeds on high arctic tundra. In winter is nearly always seen on rocky shores and breakwaters.
Purple Sandpiper in summer plumage.
In summer the Purple Sandpiper is much lighter coloured, with the back feathers being fringed with chestnut and white. The breast is heavily streaked with brown. See video below for summer plumage.
Thanks to: (Modified)
Thanks to: (Modified)
Purple Sandpiper in winter plumage identification
Thanks to: (Modified)
Flock of Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper in summer plumage
Purple Sandpiper in flight
*Slate grey head, neck and breast

*Slight purple tinge on back

*Curved bill, yellow at base
*Dumpy build
* key ID points
*Yellow legs
Black rump, white outer tail feathers
*Curved bill, yellow at base
*Dumpy build
*Yellow legs
Breast streaked brown

*Upper feathers fringed chestnut and white

* key ID points
Purple Sandpiper in winter plumage
Thanks to: (Modified)
A typical view, feeding along a rocky shore, the Purple Sandpiper is rarely seen in other habitats. Note the dumpy build of this bird along with yellow legs and bill.
Purple Sandpiper in winter plumage.