Spotted Sandpiper

Actitis macularius

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  • Spotted Sandpiper |  Photo: NPS
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Spotted Sandpiper Photo Gallery

Basic Information

Order

Charadriiformes

Family

Scolopacidae

Size

Spotted Sandpipers grow to 7 to 8 inches in length.

Lifespan

up to 12 years

Weight

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) facts, habitat, range, sandpiper pictures and bird watching tips to help you identify the shorebird.

Diet

Spotted Sandpipers mainly eat insects but will also feed on fish.

Behavior

Probing

Range

Migratory: Nationwide

Nest Placement

Ground

Number of Offspring

3–5 Eggs

Egg Description

Buff White to Pink specked with brown.

Condition at Hatching

Active, eyes open, down covered

Social Status

Small Flocks

Wingspan

14.5–15.75 in

Observation Tips

Keep an eye peeled for Spotted Sandpipers along trails running near lakes or rivers.

What does the Spotted Sandpiper look like?

Spotted Sandpipers are medium sized shorebirds. They have a dull brown upper body and a white lower body that is heavily black spotted. They have short necks, long tails and dull orange bills and an overall bulky appearance. There are thin white stripes above their black eyes. Non-breeding adults and juveniles look similar to breeding adults, minus the black spots.

Spotted Sandpiper Habitat

Shorelines

Spotted Sandpiper Facts

Spotted Sandpipers are common shorebirds across North America, especially in the summer. While they are considered shorebirds, they are common along lakes, streams and rivers. Spotted Sandpipers are most often observed solitarily or in pairs. When they walk they have a distinctive "teeter," in which they bob their tails up and down. The function of this action is not known. The tail teetering gets faster when the birds are nervous and stops completely when they are aggressive or courting. Females arrive at breeding grounds before males and are solely responsible for defending the territory. That said; in sort of role reversals, males take the main role in parental care. They incubate eggs and care for young. Females have been known to mate with up to four males at a time.

See also