Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - Calidris acuminata
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General Comments For the "longest time", the state's birders were looking for this Old World shorebird to add to the North Carolina list; many or most other East coast states already had records. Virginia already had four records by 2007, for example. Finally, a juvenile was seen at a sod farm in Craven, on 31 Aug 2009* [Chat 74:25 link], [Chat 75:1 link]; however, it was accepted only on a second vote. A year later, the first confirmation came -- an immature was well photographed along the beach at Fort Fisher (New Hanover), on 15 Oct 2010* [Chat 75:1 link], [Chat 75:44 link]. It was accepted at roughly the same time as the 2009 bird, and thus each record has a claim to being the "first" for the state. A third record was of an adult photographed at Pea Island NWR (Dare), on 11-12 Jul 2019* [Chat 83:114 link] [Chat 84:79 link]. Photographs of the last two records are on the Carolina Bird Club Photo Gallery.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SA
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Three records (see above).
Piedmont No records.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips The species can easily be overlooked as a Pectoral Sandpiper, and it has basically the same habits as a Pectoral, as the Sharp-tailed is the Old World counterpart for it. Look for it at sod farms, exposed mudflats at impoundments, and other similar muddy or damp, short grass habitats, generally along or near the coast in the late summer or fall seasons.
Attribution LeGrand[2023-03-10], LeGrand[2020-08-02], LeGrand[2019-11-05]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.