Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper - Actitis macularia

The species name means "spotted."
This Spotted Sandpiper was sitting on a rock by the Bow River at Inglewood, facing into a strong wet rainy wind.

The "tail bobbing" behaviour (teetering) characteristic of this shorebird happens because the bird flexes the legs. One theory to explain teetering is that the maneuver might help the bird to identify prey.  
Most Spotted Sandpipers are spotted on the shoreline or flying low over the water from shore to shore. This sandpiper seemed out of the normal habitat. Perhaps this shorebird dreamed of being a passerine?

The Spotted Sandpiper catches insects on the wing or on the ground and also forages for worms, fish, spiders, and crustaceans. 
The female might mate with more than one male in a season. Only one percent of birds mate in this fashion (polyandry - from the Greek for "many men"). If the female does mate again, the male takes care of the first brood. 


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003. 

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.

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