Home PageBirds of Devon and Cornwall Purple Sandpiper - Plymouth Sound  

Latin name - Calidris maritima

The Purple Sandpiper breeds in the Arctic Tundra and is a winter visitor to our shores except for a couple of nesting pairs in Scotland. It is a medium-sized wading birds, larger and stockier than a dunlin, with bluish-grey upper-parts, whitish under-parts, a downcurved bill with a yellow base, orange feet and legs. They can be seen on rocky coasts in winter but are more common in the north of the United Kingdom or in Devon and Cornwall. We have seen them regularly in Plymouth Sound scavenging on the rocks for their diet of small fish, insects, crustaceans, shellfish and plants. You have to look carefully though as their bluish-grey plumage can make them hard to see against rocks and seaweed.

Purple sandpiper, Plymouth Sound