The Spotted Sandpiper is a small, migratory bird that belongs to the sandpiper family. It measures around 7-8 inches in length and weighs about 1-2 ounces, with a wingspan of around 14-16 inches. The bird has a distinctive, spotted breast and lower belly, which makes it easy to identify. Its back and wings are a dark olive-brown color, and it has a white belly.
During the breeding season, the Spotted Sandpiper is commonly found in freshwater habitats such as rivers, streams, and lakes. It can be seen bobbing its tail up and down as it walks along the shorelines or in shallow water, a unique behavior for a shorebird. They also have a distinct, short flight pattern, where they rapidly beat their wings before gliding down to land.
The Spotted Sandpiper has a widespread breeding range throughout North America, including Alaska, Canada, and the lower 48 states. However, during the non-breeding season, they can be found in coastal areas of Central and South America, including as far south as Argentina.
The Spotted Sandpiper is a migratory bird that travels long distances each year to breed and winter in different areas. They usually begin their southward migration in late summer, with most birds leaving their breeding areas in August or early September. During the winter, they can be found in coastal wetlands, estuaries, and mangroves in Central and South America. They will start their northward migration in the spring, arriving back in their breeding grounds in April or May.
Overall, the Spotted Sandpiper is a unique and easily identifiable bird, known for its distinct spotted breast, short flight pattern, and tail-bobbing behavior. Its migratory habits make it a fascinating bird to observe throughout the year, as it travels between its breeding and wintering grounds.