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Birding Málaga


Common name Purple sandpiper
Scientific name Calidris maritima
Type Seabirds
Status Wintering

Medium-sized wader bird (about 22 cm or 8.5 in). Short legs with a muted orange tone. Slightly downcurved bill with an orange base. Plumage of brown tones with a dark mottling, more intense on the back, breast and head and lighter to white in the underparts. In winter the mottling becomes more diffuse on the flanks and breast. In flight, a bird of very dark tones is observed, with a narrow clearer wing band, and the characteristic rump of the sandpipers, white with a vertical line that crosses it in all its extension.


Marine environment

Where it lives

Species of the coasts of Greenland, Iceland and Scandinavia. During the wintering period this bird moves slightly to the south. Rarely does it reach the Mediterranean. Preference for tundra areas with little vegetation. In winter the Purple Sandpiper is associated with rock fields, cliffs and coves, as well as artificial elements of the coastal landscape, such as breakwaters, piers or docks, provided they are exposed to the action of the waves. This habitat is key to identify it in the province.

How it lives

Irregular wintering species in the province. It breeds in May. Nest on the ground. Laying of 3 to 4 eggs. This sandpiper feeds on invertebrates and supplements the diet with vegetable matter during the breeding season.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

In the province of Malaga it is a very rare, infrequent and irregular species that is observed exclusively on the coast, in natural rock fields or in artificial breakwaters and ports, often in the company of turnstones. The majority of watchings are concentrated in the Punta de Calaburras, although it has also been observed in the port of Fuengirola and in the breakwaters of the beaches of the west of the City of Malaga.

Curious facts

Its common and Latin names refer to its dark aspect and its maritime habitat. It is a bird that usually frequents the shores of beaches, marshes or cove. It is always in the roughest part of the surf break.

Routes where it can be observed
Wintering Summer Resident Migration