Adult Upland Sandpipers are roughly 12 long with a 26 wingspan. The average weight is 6 oz. This odd bird has a small dove-like head on a long neck. It is heavily marbled black and brown on the back and wings. The neck is streaked with dark brown which continues down to the breast and on to the flanks. The belly and undertail feathers are white. The tail is quite long for a sandpiper. The Upland also sports a white eyering and long yellow legs.
Habitat and Distribution
They breed from eastern Alaska south east of the Rocky Mountains, Montana up to northern Oklahoma and then northeast to Pennsylvania, New England and extreme southern Quebec and Ontario. Other breeding populations are in northeast Oregon and west central Idaho. They winter in northeastern Argentina, Uruguay, and southern Brazil. They prefer open country with tall grasses. They are also found at airports, blue berry farms and abandoned strip mines in the east.
Upland Sandpipers forage in fields, picking up food by sight. The diet includes ants, flies, bugs,grasshoppers, crickets, weevils, beetles, moths, millipedes, spiders, snails and earthworms. It also eats some grains and seeds.
The breeding season is from early-to-late summer. Nests are located on the ground in dense grass. The female lays 4 eggs. Both parents look after the young and may perform distraction displays to lure predators away from the nest or young birds. Upland Sandpipers can sometimes be found in small, loose nesting colonies.
Calls and Songs
They have a flight call sometimes called a wolf whistle, which features a long, ascending whistle followed by a second rising and/or falling call.