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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Upland Sandpiper -- Bartramia longicauda


RANGE: Breeds locally from north-central Alaska, northern Yukon, and northern Alberta to southern Quebec, central Maine, and southern New Brunswick south to northeastern Oregon, central Colorado, north-central Texas, central Missouri, West Virginia, and Maryland. Winters in South America.

STATUS: Uncommon; once abundant, numbers have been reduced due to past hunting pressure and agricultural practices.

HABITAT: Inhabits grassy open areas, ranging from sandy, sparsely vegetated flats to open, grassy bogs and muskeg. Most often found in rich pastureland, hayfields, and alfalfa fields. During the breeding season alights freely fenceposts, telephone poles, and other elevated sites. During migration, frequents alfalfa fields, pastures, prairie dog towns, and rarely shores and mudflats.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Open grasslands.

NEST: Nests in depressions on the ground among rank grasses, along sloughs in prairies, or in clearings of spruce muskeg, in loosely spaced colonies. Conceals nest by covering them with nearby vegetation.

FOOD: Prefers to forage where the grasses are low and open enough to provide good visibility, and where grasshoppers and crickets are most abundant. Also eats weevils, ants, berries, waste grain, and seeds of grasses and weeds.

REFERENCES: Cramp and Simmons 1983, DeGraff et al. 1983, Palmer 1967, Tate and Tate 1982.


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