Bill slightly curved at the tip, longer than the head: tibia almost entirely feathered: feet, and base of the bill, coloured.
T. maritima, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. 11. p. 619. T. nigricans, Mont, in Linn. Trans, vol. iv. p. 40. pl. 2. Purple Sandpiper, Mont. Orn. Diet, & Supp. Purple or Rock Tringa, Selb. Illust. vol. 11. p. 150. pl. 26. f. 6.
Entire length eight inches three lines: length of the bill one inch three lines; of the tarsus ten lines and a half; of the tail two inches three lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing five inches two lines.
(Winter plumage). Crown of the head, cheeks, sides and nape of the neck, dusky brown, with a tinge of ash-gray; throat white; orbits, and a spot near the anterior angle of the eye, grayish white: back and scapulars black, with purple and violet reflections, the feathers edged with deep ash-colour; wing-coverts black, edged with white: breast gray, the feathers fringed with white; rest of the under parts white, streaked on the flanks with dark ash-colour; under tail-coverts with lanceolate dusky spots: rump, and two middle tail-feathers, deep black; the other tail-feathers dusky ash, fringed with white: bill reddish orange at the base, the tip dusky: irides dusky: legs ochre-yellow. (Summerplumage). " Crown of the head, back, and scapulars, violet black, the feathers with a broad edging of white mixed with a little ferruginous: fore part of the neck, breast, and belly, cinereous white, with lanceolate dusky spots; flanks, and sides of the neck, with oval spots; under tail-coverts with longitudinal streaks; middle of the belly pure white." Temm. (Young of the year). " Crown, back, scapulars, secondary quills, and middle tail-feathers, dull black, all the feathers edged and tipped with pale red; wing-coverts broadly tipped with white: sides and fore part of the neck with longitudinal streaks, the feathers edged with cinereous; some large spots disposed longitudinally on the flanks and under tail-coverts: legs and base of the bill pale yellowish." Temm. (Egg). Yellowish olive, spotted and speckled with reddish brown: long. diam. one inch three lines; trans, diam. eleven lines.
Inhabits rocky shores, and is found on many parts of the British coast during the winter months. Retires to higher latitudes to breed. A few have been observed by Mr Selby to remain for that purpose on the Fern Islands. Food, marine insects and small bivalve mollusca. Obs. The Knot of Bewick is the young of the year of this species.