|Conservation status||Widespread and common, and numbers probably stable. Less dependent than some other shorebirds on key stopover points in migration, so perhaps less vulnerable.|
|Habitat||Mudflats, grassy marshes, rainpools, shores. In migration, often more common inland than on coast, favoring muddy edges of marshes, ponds, rivers; sometimes in flooded fields or damp meadows. On coast, usually avoids sandy beaches and wide-open tidal flats, being found instead on narrow tidal creeks and edge of salt marsh. Breeds on tundra, sedge meadows, northern bogs.|
Forages mostly by walking slowly and picking up tiny items from surface of ground. Sometimes probes in mud for food.
4, rarely 3. Pale buff, blotched with shades of brown. Incubation is by both sexes, with female incubating at night and early morning, male most of day at first. In later stages, male may do most or all of incubating. Young: Downy young leave nest soon after hatching. Young are usually tended by both parents at first, but female usually deserts them before male does, sometimes departing even before eggs hatch; male typically stays with young at least until they can fly. Young feed themselves, can fly about 14-16 days after hatching.
Downy young leave nest soon after hatching. Young are usually tended by both parents at first, but female usually deserts them before male does, sometimes departing even before eggs hatch; male typically stays with young at least until they can fly. Young feed themselves, can fly about 14-16 days after hatching.
Tiny crustaceans, insects, snails. Diet varies with season and place. On breeding grounds, may feed mostly on larvae of various flies. During migration on coast, may feed mostly on small crustaceans called amphipods and isopods; in inland areas, may eat mostly insects. Diet also includes small snails, marine worms, seeds. In spring on Atlantic Coast, may join other shorebirds in feeding on eggs of horseshoe crab.
In display flight over breeding territory, male circles with alternating flutters and glides, while singing. During courtship on ground, male approaches female, leaning forward with tail lifted, sometimes raising one or both wings over his back. Nest site is on ground near water, usually in clump of grass or on hummock of moss. Nest (begun by male, completed by female) is shallow depression lined with bits of grass, leaves, moss.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates in flocks. Birds from eastern Canada may make nonstop flight over ocean to northern South America; others move south through interior of North America, probably with short flights and frequent stops. Large numbers winter in southern United States.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA clear treep; when feeding, a soft chuckle.
Learn more about this sound collection.