Spotted Sandpiper: Medium sandpiper, olive-brown upperparts, white underparts with bold black spots. Eyebrow is white. Wings have white stripes visible in flight. Tail is barred. Dull yellow legs. Low direct flight, wings flap in shallow arcs, producing clipped, stiff wing beats on drooping wings.
Range and Habitat
Spotted Sandpiper: Breeds from northern Alaska and Canada across most of the continent to southern U.S. Spends winters along the Pacific coast south from British Columbia and across southern states south to South America. Preferred habitats include ponds, streams, and other waterways, both inland and along coasts.
The Spotted Sandpiper is the most widespread breeding sandpiper in North America.
As they forage, they can be recognized by their constant nodding and teetering. It is sometimes called the "teeter-tail".
The function of their teetering motion has not been determined.
Chicks teeter nearly as soon as they hatch. The teetering gets faster when the bird is nervous, but stops when the bird is alarmed, aggressive, or courting.
A group of sandpipers has many collective nouns, including a "bind", "contradiction", "fling", "hill", and "time-step" of sandpipers.
The Spotted Sandpiper is a small shorebird that may interbreed with its sister species, the Common Sandpiper. Preferred breeding habitats are found near fresh water bodies in Canada and the United States. During winter months, this species migrates to the southern United States and South America. These birds are rarely seen in Western Europe as well. Nests are built on the ground or water. Typical diets consist of insects, crustaceans and invertebrates. Food is either caught in-flight or foraged from the water and ground. The conservation rating for the Spotted Sandpiper is Least Concern.