Comprehensive Guide to selected species of:
Birds of the Boreal Forest « back to Guide
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
Family: Sandpipers, Scolopacidae
Audio: Martyn Stewart, © Naturesound.org
An estimated 85% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.
Description 8 1/2" (22 cm). A small dark sandpiper with dark olive legs, speckled upperparts, white tail barred with black, and prominent eye ring. Flight is swallow-like. No white wing stripe, as seen in Spotted Sandpiper.
Habitat Ponds, bogs, wet swampy places, and woodland streams.
Nesting 4 pale green or buff eggs, thickly spotted with gray and brown, in deserted tree nests of thrushes, jays, or blackbirds.
Voice A high-pitched peet-weet or peet-weet-weet, more shrill than call of Spotted Sandpiper.
Range Breeds in Alaska and across Canada to Labrador, south to northeastern Minnesota. Winters in American tropics.
Discussion The well-named Solitary Sandpiper usually migrates alone rather than in flocks. It feeds along the margin of a wooded pond or stream and, in the West, along the edges of irrigation canals and small ponds, especially where cattle are watered. When disturbed, it bobs its head and flies up, uttering its ringing note call. Its habit of nesting in the abandoned nests of other birds is unique among North American shorebirds, which generally nest on the ground.