Photo © Bob Gress
7 1/2- 9 1/4 inches
22 - 23 1/2 inches
This robin-sized shorebird has dark greenish-brown shoulders and back with light
colored spots. The head, neck and upper chest are streaked gray and dark brown with a
white lower chest, belly and undertail. Green (rarely yellowish) legs, a prominent white
eye ring and a greenishgray based black-tipped bill, which may appear slightly drooped at
the tip, are also characteristic. Their flight pattern is slow and floppy, similar to that
of a swallow. Upon landing, Solitary Sandpipers often wing stretch, pointing
their wings to the sky before relaxing them to the side.
- Similar Species:
Green legs and darker plumage distinguish this species from both species of
yellowlegs. Solitary Sandpipers bob in a manner similar to Spotted Sandpipers,
are slightly larger and less chunky than Spotted
Sandpipers, have a clean white underbelly and chest and light, rather than dark, spots
on their back and wings.
- Comments: They
are often seen as a single bird as their name implies. They will feed for long periods of
time in a relatively small area, moving slowly and carefully, while examining the water
surface for food. They nest in trees in the taiga (northern coniferous forest) of North
America, winter in South America and are seen throughout the Great Plains during
migration, usually along freshwater ponds, water treatment facilities and open rivers.
Text: Suzanne Fellows and Bob Gress
Web Design: Jim Mason