Stilt Sandpiper: Medium-sized sandpiper with gray-brown upperparts, white rump, and heavily barred white underparts. Head has a dark cap, white eyebrows, and brown ear patches. Bill is long, black, and curved down at tip. Legs are long and gray-green. Sexes are similar. Winter adult has dull gray upperparts, distinct white eyebrows, and white underparts with faint bars on breast and sides.
Range and Habitat
Stilt Sandpiper: Breeds from northeastern Alaska to northeastern Manitoba and northernmost Ontario. Spends winters in South America and casually north to Florida and southern California. Preferred habitats include sedge meadows interrupted by old beach ridges, eskers, or other elevated areas dominated by dwarf birch, heaths, willows, crowberries, and dryads.
Breeding and Nesting
Stilt Sandpiper: Four cream, pale green or olive eggs spotted with brown are laid in a ground nest made of grass and built in a relatively open area on dry tundra; occasionally nests next to a shrub. Incubation ranges from 19 to 21 days and is carried out by both parents. Young fly at 17 to 18 days.
Foraging and Feeding
Stilt Sandpiper: Feeds on insects, small snails, and small seeds; forages by probing in soft mud on mudflats or while wading in shallow water.
Stilt Sandpiper: Usually silent; call is a low, hoarse "querp."
Stilt Sandpiper: Dowitchers have longer, straighter bills. Yellowlegs have brighter yellow legs and straight bills. Dunlins and Curlew Sandpipers have dark legs and thinner bills; Dunlin also has a dark rump.