Image 23 of 27
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima L 21cm. Plump-bodied wader. Unobtrusive but typically confiding. Legs are yellowish in all birds and bill has yellowish base. White wingbar seen in flight. Sexes are similar. Adult in winter is uniform blue-grey on head, breast and upperparts, darkest on back; belly is white and flanks are streaked. In summer plumage (sometimes seen in late spring) has reddish brown and black feathers on back and dark ear coverts on otherwise streaked grey-brown face. Juvenile recalls winter adult but feathers on back have pale margins creating scaly look; neck, breast and flanks are streaked. Voice Utters a sharp kwit call in flight. Status Handful of pairs breed in Scotland. Best known as a local non-breeding visitor to rocky shores and headlands.