|Conservation status||Was once much more common and widespread; in the mid-1800s, occurred as a common migrant along much of the Atlantic Coast. Hunting of wild game for market caused a serious decline in this species and other shorebirds in the late 1800s. In more recent decades, has decreased in many parts of its nesting range as grassland has been converted to agriculture.|
|Habitat||High plains, rangeland. In winter, also cultivated land, tideflats, salt marshes. Breeding habitat is mostly native dry grassland and sagebrush prairie; may favor areas with some damp low spots nearby, to provide better feeding area for the young. May nest in pastures that are not too heavily grazed, rarely in agricultural fields. In migration and winter often in farm fields, marshes, coastal mudflats, in addition to grasslands.|
Forages by walking rather quickly over grassland or mudflats, using long bill to reach ahead and pick up insects or to probe just below the surface of mud or soil. On coastal mudflats, often probes into small burrows for mud crabs, ghost shrimps, and other creatures.
4, rarely 3-5. Pale buff to olive-buff, evenly spotted with brown and dark olive. Incubation is by both parents, 27-30 days. Incubating bird may sit motionless on nest even if approached closely. Young: Downy young leave nest soon after hatching. Both parents tend young, often leading them to marshy or damp area for better feeding; young feed themselves. Age of young at first flight varies, 32-45 days.
Downy young leave nest soon after hatching. Both parents tend young, often leading them to marshy or damp area for better feeding; young feed themselves. Age of young at first flight varies, 32-45 days.
Mostly insects. On grasslands, feeds mostly on insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, many others; also eats spiders, toads, and sometimes the eggs and young of other birds. May eat many berries at times. In coastal areas, also eats crabs, crayfish, mollusks, marine worms, other large invertebrates.
Male displays over nesting territory with spectacular undulating flight, fluttering higher and then gliding lower, while giving loud ringing calls. Nest site is on ground on open prairie, usually in rather dry surroundings. On mostly featureless terrain, often chooses site close to conspicuous rock, shrub, pile of cow manure, or other object. Nest is shallow scrape in ground, usually with sparse lining of grass, weeds; may have slight rim built up around edge.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Only a short-distance migrant, most wintering in southern United States and northern Mexico.
- 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 curleee; a sharp whit-whit, whit, whit, whit, whit.
Learn more about this sound collection.