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Solitary Sandpiper

Silhouette SandpipersSandpipers
Solitary SandpiperTringa solitaria
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Scolopacidae

Basic Description

The natty Solitary Sandpiper, with its olive-gray wings, black-and-white tail, and bold eyering, is a distinctive exception among the many lookalike sandpipers. Its helpful habit of bobbing the back half of its body or trembling its tail (and often feet) while foraging make it instantly recognizable. In flight, look for blackish underwings against a white belly, a pattern unique among North American shorebirds. As the name suggests, this species is normally seen singly. On migration, it turns up very widely, even in very small or temporary wetlands.

More ID Info
image of range map for Solitary Sandpiper
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Most birders see Solitary Sandpipers during migration, when they are most reliably found in May (almost never in June) and August. Look for them in quiet freshwater wetlands and wooded swamps, places with few other shorebird species other than occasional Spotted Sandpipers. Other good places to look include streams, ditches, or flooded fields with muddy margins and lightly wooded edges, recently logged areas with standing water, meadows or marshes with pools, and even large rain puddles in urban areas.

Other Names

  • Andarr√≠os Solitario (Spanish)
  • Chevalier solitaire (French)
  • Cool Facts