We studied Rock Sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis) breeding behavior and monitored reproductive success from 1998 to 2005 on the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta, Alaska, USA. We banded 24 adults and monitored 45 nests. Annual return rate of adults ranged between 67 and 100%. Six pairs of Rock Sandpipers bred at our study site for ???2 years, and among these we did not observe mate change (i.e., when both members of a pair returned and each mated with a new individual). Nests were typically initiated by mid-May and 53% of females laid second clutches if first clutches were lost through mid-June. Males regularly incubated clutches during the morning (0800-1259 hrs AKDT) and afternoon (1300-1759 hrs) and rarely during the evening (1800-2300 hrs), whereas female incubation was relatively consistent throughout the day. Apparent nest success (percent of known nests successfully hatching > 1 chick) among first and second nests was 19 and 44%, respectively (n = 45). A minimum of 44% of hatching nests fledged at least one young. Males cared for young but half of females deserted mate and brood 1-7 days post-hatch. This first description of North American Rock Sandpiper breeding behavior from a color-marked population complements previous work on this species on the Chukotsky Peninsula, Russia.
Additional publication details
Behavior and reproductive success of rock sandpipers breeding on the Yukon-Kuskokwim river delta, Alaska