Sandpipers are little shorebirds. The solitary sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) is one of them. The genus name Tringa is the New Latin name given to the green sandpiper by Aldrovandus in 1599 based on Ancient Greek trungas, a thrush-sized, white-rumped, tail-bobbing wading bird mentioned by Aristotle. Solitaria is Latin for “solitary,” from from solus, “alone.”
Quick Overview: Tringa Solitaria – Solitary Sandpiper
Body size: Around 8-9 in (20-23 cm) and a weight of 69 g (2.43 oz)
Main colors: Olive-Brown, White
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: March, April, May, September, October, November
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Solitary sandpiper Description
Above, it is dark olive-brown with a white eyering; below, it is light. The head and breast are dark stippled in breeding plumage, while the upperparts are finely marked with white.
These birds have a length of 8-9 in (20-23 cm) and a weight of 69 g (2.43 oz). Their wings could range from 15-17 in (38-43 cm).
Carnivorous, solitary sandpipers feed on a variety of tiny invertebrates. The primary food sources for these birds are insects, such as mosquito larvae, young midges, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and beetles, as well as small crustaceans, mollusks, such as snails extracted from their shells, and frogs, primarily as tadpoles. Winter months see a greater consumption of terrestrial invertebrates, such as soil or litter invertebrates, in addition to aquatic invertebrates.
The Solitary Sandpiper nests on muskeg bogs near ponds and lakes in areas of coniferous, mainly spruce, forest. It is found in the winter on tiny pools and rivers, marshes, rice fields, roadside ponds, sandy river beaches, and muddy lake margins, as well as occasionally in brackish habitats along the coast.
Solitary sandpipers are not sociable birds, preferring to be observed alone or in groups of twenty or fewer. When numerous individuals congregate, they often defend intraspecific territory cooperatively. While foraging for food on land, single sandpipers wade through shallow water, usually at around belly level, nodding their heads. While bathing, these birds wade leisurely through the water, preening and ducking beneath the surface.
Tringa Solitaria Scientific Classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Charadriiformes
- Family: Scolopacidae
- Genus: Tringa
- Species: Tringa solitaria
Best time of the year to see
In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds are during the Spring season (March-May) and during the Autumn season (September – November).
Distribution of the Solitary sandpiper in the USA
This species breeds in Canada’s and Alaska‘s forested northland regions. It spends winters from southern Florida, central Mexico, and the West Indies south to central South America.
The Solitary sandpiper can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.