|Conservation status||Because migration often involves long flights, species is dependent on stopover points to feed and refuel for next flight; loss of these staging areas could cause serious problems.|
|Habitat||Prairies, shores, mudflats; in summer, tundra. During migration, found in a variety of situations, including flooded fields, shallow ponds, edges of freshwater marshes, tidal flats, gravel beaches. Breeds mostly on low-lying wet tundra with grassy areas and dwarf willows; sometimes on higher and drier tundra.|
On mudflats, forages by probing in mud or in shallow water, also picks up some items from surface. On tundra, often probes deeply in moss and other vegetation.
4, rarely 3. Olive to green, sometimes buff, blotched with brown, olive-brown, or gray. Incubation is by female only, about 22 days. Young: Downy young leave nest less than a day after hatching. Female tends young and broods them to keep them warm, but young apparently find all their own food. Age at first flight about 16-17 days; become independent soon thereafter.
Downy young leave nest less than a day after hatching. Female tends young and broods them to keep them warm, but young apparently find all their own food. Age at first flight about 16-17 days; become independent soon thereafter.
Includes insects, mollusks, marine worms, seeds. Diet not well known. On breeding grounds, probably eats mostly insects, including crane flies, beetles. During migration and winter, eats insects, marine worms, snails and other mollusks, crustaceans, leeches. Also eats many seeds and other plant material at various times of year.
Male displays over breeding territory by gliding and fluttering, making rattling and oinking sounds. On ground, male stretches wings out to side, raises tail high to show off white rump patch, and walks and runs while giving repeated call. Nest site is on ground, usually well hidden in clump of grass or moss on tundra. Nest (built by female) is a cup-shaped depression; lining material, bits of lichen, moss, and leaves, may be present naturally, not added by female.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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A very long-distance migrant. In fall, many make nonstop flight from eastern Canada to northern South America. In spring, most move north through Great Plains and Mississippi Valley. A late migrant in spring, with peak numbers in central United States in late May, some lingering into June.
- 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 very high-pitched tzeet; also a swallow-like twitter.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the White-rumped 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 White-rumped 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.