Spotted Sandpiper

Actitis macularius




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Brown, green, pink or buff blotched with brown.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 5

Incubation Days:

20 - 24

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

Sometimes elevated in grass.

Nest Material:

Lined with moss, grass, feathers, and weeds.





Spotted Sandpiper: Medium-sized sandpiper with olive-brown upperparts and white underparts with bold black spots. Eyebrow is white. Wings have white stripes visible in flight. Tail is barred. Female is similar but larger; has large, black belly spots. Winter adult has more plain upperparts. Lacks spots on underparts; bill is dark brown; paler at base; gray upperparts, yellow legs; white wing bar less obvious. Juvenile similar to winter adult; upperparts gray with narrow buff fringes; wing coverts have distinct buff and brown fringes.

Range and Habitat

Spotted Sandpiper: Breeds from northern Alaska and Canada across most of the continent to southern U.S. Resident along the Pacific coast south from British Columbia and winters across southern states south to South America. Preferred habitats include ponds, streams, and other waterways, both inland and along coasts.

Breeding and Nesting

Spotted Sandpiper: Three to five brown, green, pink or buff eggs blotched with brown are laid in a ground depression lined with grass or moss. Incubation ranges from 20 to 24 days and is carried out by the male.

Foraging and Feeding

Spotted Sandpiper: Their diet includes house and stable flies, grasshoppers, crickets and mole crickets, beetles, caterpillars, worms, mollusks, crustaceans, fish and spiders. They walk or wade forward, abruptly quicken their pace, and retrieve prey with a forward thrust of the neck and horizontal movement of the bill. They often dip their food into the water before eating.


Spotted Sandpiper: Call is a clear "peet-weet"; also a soft trill.

Similar Species

Spotted Sandpiper: Solitary Sandpiper is larger, has a bold eye-ring, white-spotted upperparts, no wing stripes, and different flight pattern.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
Wing covertsX
The feathers that cover and protect the flight feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X