UPLAND SANDPIPER – (Bartramia longicauda)
Usually sandpipers are coastal shorebirds but the Upland Sandpiper, as its English name implies, prefers open country such as fields and grasslands, a little like the Killdeer. The upland sandpiper is about 30 cm (1 foot) long. Its back, wings and tail are brown speckled with beige. The tail is rather long for a sandpiper. The head, long neck and breast are beige with fine streaks of brown. The throat and belly are white. The bill is yellow with a dark tip, and the legs also are yellow. The eyes are large relative to the head size, and black.
The English name ‘Sandpiper’ stems from ‘sand’, and Latin ‘pipa’, which means to ‘chirp’. The Latin name ‘Bratramia’, was given to this sandpiper to honor the memory of the American naturalist William Bartram. The species Latin name ‘longicauda’ means ‘long tail’.
Upland sandpipers feed on insects and arthropods, also on seeds. They nest on the ground in a well-sheltered area.
Although the upland sandpiper breeds on PEI, sightings of this shorebird on the island are rare (spring and summer), or occasional (fall). Sightings were reported on Anderson Road in May 2008. Its overall breeding range covers the central Plains in Canada and the USA, extending to Alaska on the west side and to the north eastern USA. For the winter the upland sandpiper will migrate in South America (Brazil, Argentina). Some rare vagrants have been found as far as Australia and New Zealand! Its population appears stable.