Playero Patilargo/Stilt Sandpiper/Calidris himantopus

Nombre en español: Playero Patilargo

Nombre en ingles: Stilt Sandpiper

Nombre científico: Calidris himantopus

Familia: Scolopacidae

Foto: Nick Athanas

Canto: Andrew Spencer

El playero zancón (Calidris himantopus o Micropalama himantopus) es una especie de ave charadriforme de la familia Scolopacidae. Es una pequeña ave limícola costera; posee algún parecido con los calídridos escolopácidosalgo más pequeños. La información que brinda su secuencia de ADN no es suficiente para determinar si debería pertenecer al género Calidris o al género monotípico Micropalama.​ Parece que se encuentra más emparentado con el correlimos zarapitín,​ que es otra especie de difícil clasificación que ha sido ubicada de forma preliminar dentro de Calidris y que eventualmente podría ser juntado con él, en el género Erolia.

El playero zancón se reproduce en los espacios abiertos de la tundra ártica en América del Norte. Es un ave migratoriade largo rango, pasa el invierno en la zona norte de América del Sur. De forma esporádica ha sido observado en la zona oeste de Europa, Japón y el norte de Australia.

Esta especie anida en el suelo, pone de tres a cuatro huevos.

Stilt sandpiper

The stilt sandpiper (Calidris himantopus or Micropalama himantopus) is a small shorebird. 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 himantopus means «strap foot» or «thong foot».

This sandpiper bears some resemblance to the smaller calidrid sandpipers or «stints». DNA sequence information is incapable of determining whether it should be placed in Calidris or in the monotypic genus Micropalama. It appears most closely allied with the curlew sandpiper, which is another aberrant species only tentatively placed in Calidris and could conceivably be separated with it in Erolia.

The stilt sandpiper breeds in the open arctic tundra of North America. It is a long-distance migrant, wintering mainly in northern South America. It occurs as a rare vagrant in western Europe, Japan and northern Australia.

This species nests on the ground, laying three or four eggs. The male has a display flight. Outside the breeding season, this bird is normally found on inland waters, rather than open coasts.

This species resembles the curlew sandpiper in its curved bill, long neck, pale supercilium and white rump. It is readily distinguished from that species by its much longer and paler legs, which give rise to its common and scientific names. It also lacks an obvious wing bar in flight.

Breeding adults are distinctive, heavily barred beneath, and with reddish patches above and below the supercilium. The back is brown with darker feather centres. Winter plumage is basically gray above and white below.

Juvenile stilt sandpipers resemble the adults in their strong head pattern and brownish back, but they are not barred below, and show white fringes on the back feathering.

These birds forage on muddy, picking up food by sight, often jabbing like the dowitchers with which they often associate. They mainly eat insects and other invertebrates.

The Stilt Sandpiper is an unusual shorebird, market gunners once knew it as the “bastard yellowlegs” as it was thought to be in between a yellowlegs and a dowitcher. In non-breeding plumages this is not far from the truth to the field observer. In some situations a Stilt Sandpiper can become lost in a group of dowitchers, foraging in the typical sewing machine motion, while in other situations it can be on par with a yellowlegs and very similar to it in many ways including having long yellowish legs. It also resembles the winter Curlew Sandpiper, and even a winter Wilson’s Phalaropes. It is such a mix of features that the Stilt Sandpiper is difficult to define, and at one time was put into its own genus. Only in breeding plumage is it truly distinctive, with a boldly barred underpart pattern and rusty on the cap and the cheek. Stilt Sandpipers sometimes winter in the southern United States, and they winter uncommonly in Mexico and Central America; by far the main wintering region is the interior of South America, south of the Amazon Basin. It is not a coastal species there, but more likely to be found in inland ponds, habitats where Pectoral Sandpipers may also be found. More work is needed to determine where the most important wintering areas are for this generally low density shorebird.


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