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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Marshbirds and Shorebirds of North Dakota

Upland Sandpiper

UPLAND SANDPIPER Bartramia longicauda L12" (31cm)

The upland sandpiper is often observed where one would not expect a sandpiper to be found -- on mixed-grass prairie. It is locally common throughout the Missouri Coteau and Drift Prairie where it inhabits wet meadows, open prairie, and even cultivated fields. It is often seen perched on fence posts and rotting tree stumps. Its diet consists of a variety of insects such as grasshoppers, weevils, crickets, and grubs. When insect populations are low, it will feed on waste grain, sandspurs, and the seeds of foxtail grass. The nest of the upland sandpiper consists of a depression in the ground lined with fine grass. The female lays 3-4 speckled reddish-brown eggs with both sexes sharing incubation duties. This sandpiper was abundant on the open prairie in the late 1800s, but market hunting in the early 1900s and loss of habitat has taken its toll on this bird. The upland sandpiper has never regained its former numbers but is showing signs of adapting by nesting in open croplands, alfalfa fields, and even airports.

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