: any of various small shorebirds (family Scolopacidae, the sandpiper family) distinguished from the related plovers chiefly by the longer and soft-tipped bill
Illustration of SANDPIPER
First Known Use of SANDPIPER
sandpiper noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
Any of numerous shorebirds (family Scolopacidae) found either breeding or wintering nearly worldwide. Sandpipers, 6–12 in. (15–30 cm) long, have a moderately long bill and legs, long, narrow wings, and a fairly short tail. Their plumage has a complicated dead-grass pattern of browns, buffs, and blacks above, white or cream below. They run along ocean and inland beaches and mudflats, picking up insects, crustaceans, and worms and uttering thin, piping cries. Many species migrate in great flocks, from the Arctic to South America and New Zealand.
White-rumped sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis)—Helen CruickshankThe National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers
Learn More About SANDPIPER
Seen & Heard
What made you want to look up sandpiper? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).