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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

Buff-breasted Sandpiper -- Tryngites subruficollis

RANGE: Breeds from northern Alaska to Banks, Melville, Bathurst, and Devon islands, south to northwestern Mackenzie, and Jenny Lind, and King William Islands. Winters in South America.

STATUS: Uncommon; once abundant, its numbers were reduced by several decades of hunting pressure.

HABITAT: Prefers raised and grassy terrain, sometimes by streams, but avoids marshy areas. Predominately a ground bird, it only occasionally occurs on beaches and along shores in migration, favoring short-grass prairies, burned-over grasslands, cotton fields, recently plowed fields, sun-baked stubble, and barren, recently inundated lands.


NEST: Nests in a shallow cavity in dry, mossy or grassy tundra, sometimes near water or on high and dry banks of black tundra.

FOOD: Forages primarily on insects gleaned from the surface. Eats adult and larval beetles, larvae and pupae of flies, some spiders, and seeds of smartweeds, pondweeds, and spikerushes.

REFERENCES: Bent 1927, Cramp and Simmons 1983, Palmer 1967.

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