Calidris maritima (Purple Sandpiper) is a shorebird found along northern coasts of Europe and eastern North America during the winter. While its winter diet is well known in Europe, the only North American study examining diet included 5 individuals and suggested a narrow diet focused on Littorina spp. (periwinkles). We examined the diet of Purple Sandpipers wintering at several sites in Nova Scotia, Canada, during 2013, and found that the birds consumed a broad variety of items, though principally marine invertebrates, dominated by periwinkles and Mytilus edulis (Blue Mussel), but also many arthropods. Our study confirms the importance of mollusks in the diet of this species and also indicates that Purple Sandpipers in North America have a similar winter diet to those studied in Europe.
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Vol. 23 • No. 2