South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Solitary Sandpiper

Tringa solitaria

Length: 8 inches Wingspan: 16 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: Slender body, dark upperparts with obvious spotting, white eye ring, thin straight bill

Solitary Sandpiper - Tringa solitariaWell named, the Solitary Sandpiper is usually seen singly as it migrates through the state, shunning the more gregarious nature of most other sandpipers. Also unlike nearly all other sandpipers, they don't nest on the ground, but instead use old songbird nests in trees.  Solitary Sandpipers sometimes practice nest parasitism, laying their eggs in the nests of different species of birds.

Habitat: In migration through the state, they are generally found in flooded fields, wet meadows, and along edges of streams and ponds.  They are generally not found on open mudflats like their close relatives, the Yellowlegs.

Diet: Primarily feeds on insects, especially aquatic insects, but also terrestrial insects such as grasshoppers and beetles.  Also will feed on small crustaceans, mollusks, worms, small amphibians, and occasionally small fish.

Behavior: Prefers shallow water along shorelines for foraging, both by probing with its bill in the mud and water, and by picking food items from the water's surface.  Solitary Sandpipers will occasionally stir up the stream or lake bottom with their feet to reveal food items.

Nesting: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: A crisp, rising pee-EET flight call.  Alarm call is a sharp, short kleek.

Migration: Summers throughout much of Canada and Alaska.  Winters in South America.

Similar Species: Spotted Sandpiper

Conservation Status: Numbers are generally stable.  The widely dispersed population makes analysis of populations trends difficult.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Solitary Sandpiper

2) Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Solitary Sandpiper

3) eNature.com: Solitary Sandpiper

Photo Information: August 17th, 2004 - Lake Thompson, Kingsbury County - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Solitary Sandpiper photos.

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Solitary Sandpiper - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Uncommon migrant throughout the state.