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The Ivory Bill·Birds·Shorebirds

Spotted Sandpipers, Actitis macularius

Spotted sandpipers foraging among rocks in the shallows.
​Spotted Sandpipers are widely distributed across North and South America. They are found in a variety of habitats, including freshwater lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, marshes, and coastal areas.

Sandpipers use their long bills to catch insects and invertebrates in wetlands and mudflats. They forage in the shallows of lakes, rivers, ponds, and other freshwater bodies.

Their nesting season typically occurs from late spring to early summer. They construct their nests on the ground, usually near the water’s edge. The nests are shallow depressions lined with grasses, leaves, and other plant materials. The female builds the nest.

After the nest is completed, the female Spotted Sandpiper lays a clutch of typically 4 eggs. The eggs are well-camouflaged and blend in with the surroundings. The female alone incubates the eggs for about 20 to 24 days until they hatch.

The chicks are precocial, relatively capable and mobile shortly after birth. The female provides most of the care for the chicks, while the male guards the territory. During their early stages of life, Spotted Sandpiper chicks face various vulnerabilities. They are at risk of predation from mammals, birds of prey, and other predators.

Spotted Sandpiper chicks begin foraging for food shortly after hatching. They follow their parents along the water’s edge, imitating their foraging techniques. The chicks use their small bills to peck and pick at the mud and shallow water to capture insects and invertebrates.

The diet of Spotted Sandpiper chicks primarily consists of small aquatic insects, insect larvae, and other tiny invertebrates found in their freshwater habitats. These include small aquatic beetles, mayflies, damselflies, dragonflies, and various other water-dwelling invertebrates. They forage near the water’s edge, picking and pecking at the mud and shallow water to capture their prey.

The chicks fledge when they are around 18 to 22 days old. After fledging, the young birds continue to be cared for by the female for a short period. Over time, the chicks develop the skills needed to forage independently. As they become more proficient at finding their own food, they gradually become less reliant on parental care and start to become more independent and gradually fend for themselves.

Spotted Sandpipers are migratory birds that undergo seasonal movements between their nesting and wintering grounds. As fall approaches and temperatures drop, they migrate southward to regions in Central and South America, including countries like Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil.