Any wintering 'Common Sandpiper' should be carefully checked for this species. Most sandpipers nest only in the far north, but the little "Spotty" is common in summer over much of North America. We use cookies to improve your experience of this website by remembering your usage preferences, collecting statistics, and targeting relevant content. This is a small wader, only fractionally longer than Dunlin. This trio of 'bobbing' sandpipers forms a distinctive group within the wader family. Their ranges rarely overlap. It is a conspicuous species, typically seen feeding along the muddy fringes of creeks and pools and performing its characteristic nervous 'bobbing' action. Actitis macularia flying. Adult Common Sandpiper (Sohar, Sultanate of Oman, March 2006). The back is dark brown. The overall health of spotted sandpipers may be suggested by the "spottiness" of an individual. When alarmed, Spotted Sandpipers may give a pair of weet notes or, if warning chicks, make a metallic spink. Adult summer Common Sandpiper (Austria, 30 May 2012). The overall plumage is plain grey above and white below, with a well-marked supercilium and grey breast-side patches. In size, structure and habits this is a near-exact replica of Common Sandpiper, although its tail is distinctly shorter, projecting only slightly beyond the wing-tips. The rump and tail are the same pale grey as the rest of the upperparts and the upperwing is relatively plain too. The destruction of their natural habitats due to increasing wildfires causes problems for breeding and raising offspring. This flying Common Sandpiper shows the typical long-tailed and bowed-winged appearance, although the characteristic 'flicking' flight cannot be captured in a single image. Spotted sandpipers also feature a white supercilium. Wings have white stripes visible in flight. Common Sandpipers have darker legs than Spotted Sandpipers. Winter Spotted Sandpiper (California, United States, 26 February 2015). It is a very rare bird in Britain, with only 85 records in total. Further features include brighter yellow legs and a stronger face pattern (Mike Danzenbaker / The basic plumage tones are the same as well, although summer adults acquire the highly distinctive thrush-like scatter of dark spots across the underparts from which the species gets its name. When, as rarely happens, the spotted sandpiper rises to some height to make a considerable aerial passage (especially over a stretch of marsh) the flight becomes regular, like that of a miniature yellowlegs, or swift and darting, as it sometimes is with a white-rumped sandpiper for instance. It is rare to sight more than a single bird or, at most, a single family. Andy Stoddart is Vice Chairman of the British Birds Rarities Committee and a member of the BOU Records Committee. Have you seen something interesting? The Spotted Sandpiper in flight gives a series of slightly rising “peet” notes. However, note also the slightly stronger face pattern and more prominent pale in the bill base (Ray Tipper). Actitis macularia orth. Winter-plumaged Terek Sandpipers closely resemble those in summer – note the grey-and-white appearance, bright yellow legs, steep forehead, high, rounded crown and striking long, upturned, two-toned bill. When startled, it skims away low over the water, with rapid bursts of shallow wingbeats and short, stiff-winged glides. These spots vary in degree over the course of spotted sandpipers' lives, becoming especially prevalent around the breeding season. The bill and legs are typically bright (Lisa … This patterning identifies the bird as a fresh juvenile (Steve Young). The Spotted Sandpiper has brown upperparts, white underparts, short yellowish legs, orange bill with a dark tip. [6] The search for mates amongst female spotted sandpipers is much more competitive than finding potential mates is for males. The genus name Actitis is from Ancient Greek aktites, "coast-dweller", derived from akte, "coast", and macularius is Latin from macula, "spot".[2]. The bill is dark with a pale base and the legs are typically greyish-green. The main predators of spotted sandpipers include raptors, mustelids, mice, and gulls. Generally, females with more "spottiness" were healthier than those who did not have as many spots. In flight, Spotted Sandpipers have a … At first glance this Terek Sandpiper resembles a Common Sandpiper, but the pale grey upperparts, bright yellow legs and, most obviously, the long and upturned, two-toned bill should all catch the eye, as should the rather abrupt forehead profile and high, rounded crown. This image shows the typical Common Sandpiper structure well. The bill and legs are typically bright (Lisa de Leon). There is no wing-bar, but there is instead a prominent triangular greyish-white trailing edge, resembling that of a Common Redshank, although much more diffuse and less contrasting (Markku Rantala /