Calidris Melanotos - Pectoral Sandpiper | Fire Island, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Subclass: Neornithes
Infraclass: Neognathae
Superorder:Neoaves
Order: Charadriiformes
Suborder: Scolopaci
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Calidris (disputed)
Species: C. melanotos

The pectoral sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) is a small, migratory wader that breeds in North America and Asia, wintering in South America and Oceania. It eats small invertebrates. Its nest, a hole scraped in the ground and with a thick lining, is deep enough to protect its four eggs from the cool breezes of its breeding grounds. The pectoral sandpiper is 21 cm (8.3 in) long, with a wingspan of 46 cm (18 in).
The pectoral sandpiper is sometimes separated with the “stint” sandpipers in Erolia. This may or may not represent a good monophyletic group, depending on the placement of the phylogenetically enigmatic curlew sandpiper (“C.” ferruginea), the type species of Erolia. In any case, the genus name Ereunetes—formerly used for the western sandpiper (“C.” mauri) and semipalmated sandpiper (“C.” pusilla), which are also members of the stint clade—was established before Erolia.

“Cox’s sandpiper” (“Calidris” × paramelanotos) is a stereotyped hybrid between this species and the curlew sandpiper. This does not prove a particularly close relationship between these two species, as far more distantly related waders have successfully hybridized. In any case, among the stint clade the red-necked stint (“C.” ruficollis) and the long-toed stint (“C.” subminuta) are particularly close relatives of the pectoral sandpiper.

The scientific name is from Ancient Greek. The genus name kalidris or skalidris, is a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds. The specific melanotos is from melas, “black” and notos, "backed ". Read more

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