Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Endangered; numbers are slowly declining.
HABITAT: Inhabits exposed, sparsely vegetated sandy shores and islands of shallow lakes and ponds, dry sandy ocean beaches, higher portions of strand near dunes, and large open sandy areas, especially where scattered grass tufts are present. In winter it is found on beaches, margins of lagoons, and areas of rubble.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Unspoiled, undeveloped beaches with little vegetation.
NEST: Nests in a hollow in sand, well beyond high tide on ocean beaches, on raised sandspits, or on the lower slopes of dunes. Generally nests on narrow beaches as little as 6 feet wide. May sometimes nest under tufts of grass. Adults tend to return to the same breeding area year after year.
FOOD: Forages on beaches, along margins of watercourses, and on tidal sandflats for marine worms, insects such as fly larvae and beetles, crustaceans, and mollusks.
REFERENCES: Bent 1929, Cairnes 1982, DeGraff et al. 1980, Harrison 1979, Palmer 1967, Tate and Tate 1982, Terres 1980, Wilcox 1959.