16 January, 2010

Spotted Sandpiper

Scientific Name: Actitis macularia

Population Estimate: 150K, Least Concern status

Range: Summers throughout North America, excepting the southern US. Winters in southern coastal US through Mexico, Central and most of South America. Can be found anywhere near water. 

Field Notes: Medium-sized shore bird with proportionate, orange bill. Bobs tail constantly and teeters when flying. Brown up top and white underneath. White eye ring and eye stripe. Breeding plumage is with prominent dark belly spots as above. Non-breeding with all white breast. Solitary Sandpiper similar to non-breeding form but with dense white speckling on back and no white stripe above eye. Lesser Yellowlegs also similar to non-breeding form but with long, prominent yellow legs and crown speckled grey and white. 

Personal Notes: As stated on the Cornell website: "[a] great ambassador for the notoriously difficult-to-identify shorebirds." Indeed.

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