Spotted Sandpiper

photo by Phil Swanson

Actitis macularia
L 7 1/2″(19 cm). Sexes similar.

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Sharp “peet-weet” or repeated “weet” notes.

Description: Brown above and white below. In breeding plumage underparts are distinctively marked with large, dark spots. Black eye-line; white eyebrow; short yellow bill; yellowish legs; white wing stripe shown in flight.

Behavior: Identified readily by tail-bobbing gait and manner of flight, which is low over the water with stiff fluttering wingbeats.

spotted sandpiper
Habitat: Wetlands and similar habitats with exposed or sparsely vegetated shorelines or islands.

Where in Nebraska: Characteristics of the shoreline appear to be more important than type of water body. Common spring and fall migrant and summer resident in all parts of the state. Regular breeder.

Fun Facts: Spotted Sandpiper females defend breeding territories while the male incubates and cares for the young. Additionally, the female may mate with many males and can hold the sperm for up to a month to delay fertilization.

juvenile Spotted Sandpiper - photo by Phil Swanson Spotted Sandpiper - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)