|Conservation status||Population very difficult to census, because birds are so dispersed at all seasons, but no obvious decline in numbers.|
|Habitat||Streamsides, wooded swamps and ponds, fresh marshes. In migration generally along shaded streams and ponds, riverbanks, narrow channels in marshes. Sometimes along the edges of open mudflats, but generally avoids tidal flats and salt marsh. Nests in muskeg region, with bogs and ponds surrounded by forest of spruce and other trees.|
Mostly forages in shallow water, moving about actively, picking items from surface; also probes in water and mud. While walking in water, may pause and quiver one foot, presumably to stir up small creatures from the bottom.
4, rarely 5. Olive to buff, marked with brown. Incubation details poorly known, may be by both parents, roughly 23-24 days. Young: Development and behavior of young poorly known. Since parents are not known to feed young, apparently the chicks must jump to the ground; probably tended there by one or both parents. Age of young at first flight not known.
Development and behavior of young poorly known. Since parents are not known to feed young, apparently the chicks must jump to the ground; probably tended there by one or both parents. Age of young at first flight not known.
Insects and other small aquatic creatures. Feeds on many insects of water and shore, including beetles, dragonfly nymphs, grasshoppers; also crustaceans, spiders, worms, mollusks, occasionally small frogs.
Breeding behavior not well known. In breeding season, male gives repeated call while perching on tops of trees, or while performing display flight over nesting territory. Nest: Uses nests built by songbirds such as American Robin, Rusty Blackbird, Bohemian Waxwing, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Jay. Nest chosen is usually in spruce or other conifer, sometimes in deciduous tree, 4-40' above ground. Sandpipers may sometimes take over a freshly-built nest. Female may add lining material to original nest.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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A long-distance migrant, wintering mostly in South America, especially around swamps and riverbanks in the Amazon Basin. Apparently migrates mostly alone and at night.
- 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 high-pitched peet-weet or peet-weet-weet, more shrill than call of Spotted Sandpiper.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Solitary Sandpiper
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Solitary Sandpiper
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.