Solitary Sandpiper

Tringa solitaria

Solitary Sandpiper


These small sandpipers are only 22 centimetres long and aredark brown in colour with olive coloured legs. Their upper body is speckled with white and they have a white tail with a full white ring around their eyes. The babies are recognizable by their blue legs which change colour as they age.

Range & Habitat

Solitary sandpipers range from Alaska down to B.C. and across Canada around bogs and ponds, or woodland streams and swampy areas. They do not live on either of the Canadian coasts because they do not like saltwater. They are also missing from some parts of the prairies.

Diet & Behaviour

Solitary sandpipers eat from the shallow waters and muddy shores of marshes, finding frogs, spiders, crustaceans, and a variety of insects. They use their long-sharp bill to get food that is living under the mud. They also use their feet to stir up the muddy shallow water as another way to find food. The one behaviour they are named for is their solitary social behaviour. They do not flock with others to feed, live, or migrate. These birds are known for doing everything alone. Another unique habit of solitary sandpipers is their choice to nest in trees using the old nests of other birds instead of nesting on the ground like other shore birds.

Lifecycle & Threats

The female lays four to five pale green eggs that are thickly spotted with grey and brown. Incubation of the eggs is about 25 days.


COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information

Photo: Vicki DeLoach