Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Dominic Sherony/Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Tryngites subruficollis
Sandpiper-like Birds | Family: Sandpipers, Scolopacidae

An estimated 7% of the boreal forest of Alaska and Canada lies within the migratory pathway of this species.

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Overview

This species looks like a small, buffy edition of the Upland Sandpiper, at times its grassland associate. It is very tame and when approached merely runs through the short grass instead of flying off. Like the American Golden-Plover, it undertakes an amazing migration in both spring and fall. After the nesting season in the far Northwest, it migrates southward on a broad front, eventually ending up on the Argentine pampas, where it spends the winter. On the return passage in spring its movements are much more confined, carrying it chiefly up the Mississippi Valley and to the West, but ultimately back to the Arctic shores of Alaska and Canada.

Description

8" (20 cm). A starling-sized sandpiper with a small head. Underparts and face buff, legs dull orange-yellow. Bill short and straight.

Voice

A low tik-tik-tik.

Nesting

4 pale buff, brown-blotched eggs in a grass-lined nest on the Arctic tundra.

Habitat

Breeds on dry tundra; visits short-grass prairies, fields, and meadows on migration.

Range/Migration

Breeds in northernmost Alaska and Canada. Migrates mainly through Great Plains, but small numbers appear on East Coast and smaller numbers on West Coast. Winters in South America.