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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Solitary Sandpiper -- Tringa solitaria

RANGE: Breeds from central and south-coastal Alaska and northern Yukon to northern and central Ontario, east through central Quebec to central and southern Labrador, and south to northwestern and central British Columbia across to southern Manitoba and northern Minnesota. Winters from the Gulf Coast, southeastern Georgia, and Florida south to South America.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Inhabits inland muskeg with scattered mature trees or clumps of trees near freshwater lakes and ponds in the coniferous forest belt of boreal and subarctic regions. On its breeding range it perches freely on treetops, twigs, limbs, and stumps. Outside of the breeding season it occurs inland along shallow freshwater woodland streams, ponds, bogs, flooded marshes, stagnant pools, mudflats, and barnyard puddles.


NEST: Nests up to 43 feet above ground in the old nests of American robins, waxwings, rusty blackbirds, and eastern kingbirds. Usually uses nests in coniferous trees that border muskeg or open bogs, or beside a lake.

FOOD: Forages while walking about on stranded vegetation, in soft mud, or in very shallow water. Eats aquatic insects, especially larvae, also worms, grubs, dragonfly nymphs, water-scavenger beetles, water boatmen, grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders, small crustaceans, and small frogs.

REFERENCES: Bent 1929, Cramp and Simmons 1983, Palmer 1967, Pough 1951.

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