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Spotted Sandpiper - Actitis macularius

spotted sandpiper


 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Charadriiformes
 Family: Scolopacidae
 Genus:   Actitis
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern


Spotted SandpiperThe spotted sandpiper is about six to seven inches in length. It has a white line over its eyes and long yellowish or pinkish legs.In breeding season, it is brown above and white below with dark brown spots on its chest and belly. Its bill is a bright orange with a black tip.

Spotted SandpiperIn the winter the spotted sandpiper has, a grayish-brown back and sides and a spotless white breast. Its bill is yellow with a black tip. Male and female spotted sandpipers look alike, but the female is a little larger.


mapThe spotted sandpiper breeds across most of Canada and the United States, including New Hampshire. It winters along the the Pacific Coast in the west. In the east, it winters along the Atlantic Coast of the southern United States south to South America.


Spotted SandpiperThe spotted sandpiper lives on the edges freshwater sources like ponds, streams, lakes, and rivers. In winter, it is found in shallow, muddy lagoons; creeks; canals; and mudflats. It is also found on beaches.


Spotted SandpiperThe spotted sandpiper probes for a variety of insects and other small invertebrates including fly larvae, grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, spiders, worms, crustaceans, and mollusks. It also catches insects in the air.

Life Cycle

Spotted SandpiperUnlike most species of birds, the female spotted sandpiper reaches the breeding range before the male and selects and defends a territory. She then tries to attract a male.

Spotted SandpiperThe female lays four eggs in a grass and moss-lined nest made in a depression in the ground. The female may mate with more than one male, and she may lay eggs for each of them!

Spotted SandpiperThe male incubates the eggs and cares for the chicks. The chicks hatch in 20-24 days. They are precocial and leave the nest shortly after birth hopping around looking for food. They fledge when they are 17-21 days old.


The spotted sandpiper is sometimes called the "teeter-tail" because of the way it bobs its rump up and down as it probes for food!

Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Julian Quillen Vidoz cc logo