Return to Main Page   Dakota Birder Blog    

Upland Sandpiper

Bartramia longicauda

Length: 12 inches Wingspan: 18 - 20 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Small round head, short bill, buffy/brown streaked upperparts, white underparts.

Upland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicandaA true sandpiper, but almost never found on mudflats with its cousins, the Upland Sandpiper is a bird of grasslands and prairies.  It is most often seen as it perches on fence posts or stumps.  Upland Sandpiper males can also often be seen (and heard) during their courtship flights, in which they circle high overhead, singing a loud, carrying song.  Adults perform loud distraction displays upon too close of an approach to an active nest.

Habitat: Prefers native grasslands and prairies.  In parts of the United States where such habitat is now rare (such as in the Northeast), Upland Sandpipers are most often found around airports and other such areas of with large expanses of managed grasses.

Diet: Primarily insects.  Also earthworms, seeds, and waste grain.

Behavior: Often perches on fence posts and other elevated perches above the grassland, but when feeding, typically walks through the grassland, picking up food items from the ground or from the surface of the vegetation.

Nesting: Late May through July.  The nest of an Upland Sandpiper is a scrape in the ground lined with grasses, palced on the ground in areas of thick grassland.  the female usually lays 4 eggs, and both parents help to incubate them.  When the eggs hatch, the young leave the nest within hours and feed themselves, but the parents tend to them and protect them. The yong fledge after about one month.

Song: Flight song is a strange bubbling whistle, slowly rising then falling.

Migration: Summers in the Plains states, the Midwest, and locally in the northeastern U.S., as well as the plains of central and western Canada.  A long-distance migrant, wintering in South America.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Upland Sandpiper sightings

Similar Species: Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Conservation Status: After being seriously depleted due to hunting in the 19th century, Upland Sandpipers have recovered locally, but are still not as common as they probably once were.  Noted declines have occurred in the Eastern United States in the last few decades.  Despite declines, overall populations are still not seriously threatened, and the IUCN lists the Upland Sandpiper as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Upland Sandpiper

2) WhatBird - Upland Sandpiper

3) Audubon Guide - Upland Sandpiper

Photo Information: July 16th, 2004 -- 25 miles southwest of Pierre -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Upland Sandpiper photos.

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Upland Sandpiper - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common summer breeding resident in the western half of the state.  More local and much more uncommon in the eastern half.

Additional Upland Sandpiper Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
Upland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicaudaUpland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicauda