Bird Database

Solitary Sandpiper

(Tringa solitaria)

State of the Birds
At a Glance



Long distance




Climate Change, Wetland loss

Conservation Actions

Protect wetlands

Solitary Sandpiper

(Tringa solitaria)

Of our common migrant sandpipers, the Solitary is well-named. While it sometimes occurs in small groups in good habitat, these rarely contain more than 6-8 birds, and sightings of 1-3 are far more common. It’s also our only such shorebird that almost exclusively frequents freshwater habitats. These can be as varied as farm ponds, flooded lawns, vegetated backwaters of rivers, and wastewater treatment lagoons. They even show up in small patches of water in forested settings on occasion.

Solitary Sandpipers breed in the boreal forest of Canada where they are unusual among shorebirds in that they nest in trees. But rather than building their own nests, they typically refurbish those of songbirds (e.g., robins, blackbirds, and jays) from a previous season. The 3-5 eggs are incubated for a little over three weeks, and the newly hatched young jump to the ground to begin foraging almost immediately, albeit under the watchful eyes of their parents.

Because they nest in remote forests and don’t occur in large flocks during migration and winter, it is difficult to obtain data on population size for trends for Solitary Sandpipers. It was long assumed that these same features, along with its avoidance of crowded coastal beaches, made it less susceptible to the threats faced by other shorebirds (e.g., disturbance, hunting). Available data however, suggest the numbers in eastern North America have declined by almost 50% since 1980. More research is needed to both refine this trend estimate and start to understand the sorts of threats that might be affecting this species.

Seasonal Abundance

Relative abundance based on eBird data. Numbers indicate likelihood of finding this species in suitable habitat at a given time of year, not actual numbers encountered.

Solitary Sandpiper
Range Map

Information for the species profiles on this website was compiled from a combination of the sources listed below.

  • The Birds of New Hampshire. By Allan R. Keith and Robert B. Fox. 2013. Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological club No. 19.

  • Atlas of the Breeding Birds of New Hampshire. Carol R. Foss, ed. 1994. Arcadia Publishing Company and Audubon Society of New Hampshire

  • Birds of the World. Various authors and dates. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

  • Data from the Breeding Bird Survey

  • Data from the Christmas Bird Count