Solitary SandpiperTringa solitaria

adult, breeding
Arthur Morris/VIREO
adult, nonbreeding
Steve Young/VIREO
juvenile
Richard Crossley/VIREO
adult, breeding
Richard Crossley/VIREO
juvenile
Jukka Jantunen/VIREO
adult, breeding
Brian E. Small/VIREO
Solitary Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper

Family

Description

8 1/2" (22 cm). A small dark sandpiper with dark olive legs, speckled upperparts, white tail barred with black, and prominent eye ring. Flight is swallow-like. No white wing stripe, as seen in Spotted Sandpiper.

Voice

A high-pitched peet-weet or peet-weet-weet, more shrill than call of Spotted Sandpiper.

Listen

calls #3
calls #2
calls #1

Habitat

Ponds, bogs, wet swampy places, and woodland streams.

Range

Breeds in Alaska and across Canada to Labrador, south to northeastern Minnesota. Winters in American tropics.

Discussion

The well-named Solitary Sandpiper usually migrates alone rather than in flocks. It feeds along the margin of a wooded pond or stream and, in the West, along the edges of irrigation canals and small ponds, especially where cattle are watered. When disturbed, it bobs its head and flies up, uttering its ringing note call. Its habit of nesting in the abandoned nests of other birds is unique among North American shorebirds, which generally nest on the ground.

Nesting

4 pale green or buff eggs, thickly spotted with gray and brown, in deserted tree nests of thrushes, jays, or blackbirds.

Similar Species

adult, breeding

Common Sandpiper

8" (20.5 cm). Breeding adult resembles Spotted Sandpiper in non- breeding plumage. Upperparts brown, barred and lightly streaked with dark; upper breast finely streaked, underparts white.

adult, breeding

Spotted Sandpiper

7 1/2" (19 cm). A starling-sized shorebird that bobs its tail almost constantly. Breeding adults are brown above, with bold white wing stripe, white below with bold black spots on breast and belly.

adult, breeding

Baird's Sandpiper

7 1/2" (19 cm). A slender "peep" with a short straight bill; larger than Least, Semipalmated, and Western sandpipers; about the same size as White-rumped.

adult, breeding

White-rumped Sandpiper

7 1/2" (19 cm). A slender "peep" (small sandpiper) with a short straight bill and a white rump. About the same size as Baird's Sandpiper; larger than Least, Semipalmated, and Western sandpipers.

adult, breeding

Stilt Sandpiper

8 1/2" (22 cm). A starling-sized sandpiper with long greenish legs and long bill, slightly down-curved at tip. Wings lack stripe. Breeding adult has chestnut head stripes and barring below.

adult, breeding

Pectoral Sandpiper

9" (23 cm). A chunky, somewhat short-legged wader with heavily streaked breast sharply delineated from unmarked white belly. Legs yellow. In flight, wings dark with no prominent stripe.

adult, breeding

Wandering Tattler

11" (28 cm). A medium-sized sandpiper, uniform gray above, with whitish eyebrow, dark rump and tail, and greenish-yellow legs. Breeding birds have heavily barred underparts.

adult, breeding

Lesser Yellowlegs

10 1/2" (27 cm). A slender, gray-streaked wader with conspicuous white rump and long yellow legs.

adult, breeding

Terek Sandpiper

10" (25.5 cm). A medium-size shorebird with a long, upturned, pale-based, dark bill; short orange-yellow legs; upperparts gray- brown, contrasting with black scapular lines.

Vireo

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