Spotted Sandpiper

Actitis macularius

Overview 1

The Spotted Sandpiper is the most widespread-breeding sandpiper in North America, its range extending east-west across the continent and north-south from the southern edge of the Arctic to the southern states. Spotted Sandpipers have colonized this broad range by capitalizing on generalist habits; i.e., they feed on a great variety of animal matter and they occupy almost all habitats near water, everything from the shorelines of wild rivers and lakes to urban and agricultural ponds and pools. Easily identified in breeding plumage by the presence of dense ventral spots, the Spotted Sandpiper is also known as a little shorebird teetering along the water's edge. This characteristic teetering behavior has led to the common names of teeter-peep, teeter-bob, jerk or perk bird, teeter-snipe, and tip-tail (Nelson 1939). The unique flight of this species low over the water with shallow, stiff wing-beats is also characteristic. While many shorebirds are known for their spectacular migratory gatherings, Spotted Sandpipers migrate singly or in small groups to their wintering grounds, which extend from the extreme southern United States to southern South America.

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