Solitary Sandpipers are small shorebirds with long wings and legs. While most sandpipers migrate in flocks, Solitary Sandpipers, true to their names, migrate alone.
Their heads, necks, and breasts are finely streaked with brown and white and they have distinct white eyerings. Their bills are fairly long and dark. Breeding adults have backs and wings that are dark olive brown with white spots. Their legs are green.
Nonbreeding adults look quite similar to breeding adults except they are browner and their spots are less obvious.
- Tringa solitaria
- Length: 7.5 – 9.1 in (19 – 23 cm)
- Weight: 1.1 – 2.3 oz (31.1 – 65.1 g)
- Wingspan: 21.6 – 22.4 in (55 – 57 cm)
Solitary Sandpipers breed in Canada and migrate to Central and South America.
Habitat and Diet
You can find Solitary Sandpipers in quiet freshwater wetlands and wooded swamps. In migration and winter, they favor habitats with hardly any other shorebirds like river edges and wet meadows.
Their nesting grounds are in muskeg regions, with bogs and ponds surrounded by spruce and other trees.
Solitary Sandpipers walk along muddy shores and in shallow water to hunt their prey. Most prey includes insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and amphibians. They normally shake one foot into the muddy waters to disturb the prey but also pick insects from plants.
Solitary Sandpiper call:
Nests of Solitary Sandpipers are old songbird nests and are unusually found in trees, contrasting with other shorebirds that nest on the ground.
Females lay three to five eggs and they take about twenty-four days to hatch. Once hatched, the chicks wait for their down to dry, and then they’re encouraged to drop down to the ground to start feeding.
Solitary Sandpipers have two subspecies: Solitaria breeds and migrates east of the Rocky Mountains and Cinnamomea breeds and migrates west of the Rocky Mountains. Cinnamomea has narrower bars on the tail while Solitaria has broad bars.