|Conservation status||Numbers were reduced by market hunting during 19th century; some recovery since, but now declining again as more of its nesting habitat is converted to farmland.|
|Habitat||Prairies, pools, shores, tideflats. Breeds mostly on northern Great Plains, in areas of native prairie with marshes or ponds nearby. Localized populations also nest on tundra at James Bay, Ontario, and on Alaska Peninsula. In migration and winter around tidal mudflats, marshes, ponds, mainly in coastal regions.|
On mudflats and in marshes, forages mostly by probing in water or mud with long bill. Often wades and probes so deeply that head is underwater. Finds most food by touch; may feed by day or night. On prairies, also picks up insects from surface of ground or plants.
4, rarely 3-5. Greenish to olive-buff, lightly spotted with brown. Incubation is probably by both parents, 21-23 days. Incubating bird may sit motionless even when approached closely. Young: Downy young leave nest soon after hatching. Both parents tend young, but young find all their own food. Age of young at first flight roughly 3 weeks.
Downy young leave nest soon after hatching. Both parents tend young, but young find all their own food. Age of young at first flight roughly 3 weeks.
Includes insects, mollusks, crustaceans. In summer on prairies, feeds mostly on insects, including many grasshoppers; also roots and seeds of various aquatic plants, such as sedges and pondweeds. On coast, feeds on mollusks, marine worms, crustaceans, other invertebrates.
May nest in loose colonies. Male displays over breeding territory by flying over area, calling loudly. On ground, members of pair may go through ritualized nest-scrape making display. Nest site is on ground, usually in short grass on dry spot fairly close to water (sometimes far from water). Nest is slight depression, lined with dry grass. Occasionally has slight canopy of grass arranged above nest.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates in flocks. Most birds move to coastal regions in winter. Some reach South America, but most winter north of Panama. A few birds (possibly one-year-olds) remain on winter range throughout the summer.
- 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 loud kerreck or god-wit, usually heard on breeding grounds.
Learn more about this sound collection.