|Conservation status||North American population probably stable; may be increasing as a breeder in northeastern Canada.|
|Family||Old World Flycatchers|
|Habitat||In summer, rocky tundra, barren slopes. Breeds on dry northern tundra with many exposed rocks and boulders, especially where these are near mats of dwarf shrubs a few inches high. Migrants may be seen on any kind of open ground, including vacant lots, barren fields, coastal meadows. In Eurasia, very widespread in open country.|
Forages mostly on the ground, running short distances and then stopping to pick up items. May run and flutter in pursuit of active insects. Also often watches from a perch a couple of feet up, then flies down take item on ground. Sometimes flies out to catch insects in mid-air.
5-6, sometimes 3-8. Pale blue, either unmarked or with fine reddish brown dots at larger end. Incubation is mostly or entirely by female, about 13-14 days. Young: Both parents feed nestlings, but female may do more. Young leave nest about 15 days after hatching. Probably 1 brood per year.
Both parents feed nestlings, but female may do more. Young leave nest about 15 days after hatching. Probably 1 brood per year.
Mostly insects, some berries. Diet in North America not known in detail. In Eurasia feeds mostly on insects, especially beetles, also ants, caterpillars, grasshoppers, true bugs, flies, and many others. Also eats spiders, centipedes, snails. Often feeds on berries, perhaps mainly in summer and fall.
Male defends territory by singing, often in song-flight display. Song often includes imitations of other birds. In one courtship display, female crouches on ground while male leaps back and forth above her, very rapidly, with wings and tail spread. Also other postures and displays, many showing off tail pattern. Nest site is on ground on dry tundra, usually in hole under rock, in crevice among large stones, or in old rodent burrow. Nest, probably built by female, is placed within this shelter; variable cup of grass, twigs, weeds, lined with finer material such as moss, lichens, rootlets, fine grass.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
Download Our Bird Guide App
Birds from eastern Canada migrate east via Greenland and Europe, to winter in Africa. Birds from Alaska and northwestern Canada cross Bering Strait and make long westward flight across Asia, also going to wintering grounds mostly in Africa.
- 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 over 450 bird species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsHarsh chak-chak! Song is a jumble of warbling notes.
Learn more about this sound collection.