The solitary sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) is a small shorebird. The genus name Tringa is the New Latin name given to the green sandpiper by Aldrovandus in 1599 based on Ancient Greek trungas, a thrush-sized, white-rumped, tail-bobbing wading bird mentioned by Aristotle. The specific solitaria is Latin for "solitary" from solus, "alone".
This species measures 18–23 cm (7.1–9.1 in) long, with a wingspan up to 50 cm (20 in) and a body mass of 31–65 g (1.1–2.3 oz). It is a dumpy wader with a dark green back, greyish head and breast and otherwise white underparts. It is obvious in flight, with wings dark above and below, and a dark rump and tail centre. The latter feature distinguishes it from the slightly larger and broader-winged, but otherwise very similar, green sandpiper of Europe and Asia, to which it is closely related. The latter species has a brilliant white rump. In flight, the solitary sandpiper has a characteristic three-note whistle. They both have brown wings with little light dots, and a delicate but contrasting neck and chest pattern. In addition, both species nest in trees, unlike most other scolopacids.
Distribution and habitat
It breeds in woodlands across Alaska and Canada. It is a migratory bird, wintering in Central and South America, especially in the Amazon River basin, and the Caribbean. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.
The solitary sandpiper is split into two subspecies:
- T. s. cinnamomea, (Brewster, 1890): breeds in Alaska & western Canada
- T. s. solitaria, (Wilson, 1813): breeds from eastern British Columbia to Labrador
The solitary sandpiper is not a gregarious species, usually seen alone during migration, although sometimes small numbers congregate in suitable feeding areas. The solitary sandpiper is very much a bird of fresh water, and is often found in sites, such as ditches, too restricted for other waders, which tend to like a clear all-round view.
Food is small invertebrates, sometimes small frogs, picked off the mud as the bird works steadily around the edges of its chosen pond.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Tringa solitaria". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 359, 390. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
- Solitary sandpiper at All about birds
- CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
- Pereira, Sérgio Luiz; Baker, Allan J. (2005). "Multiple Gene Evidence for Parallel Evolution and Retention of Ancestral Morphological States in the Shanks (Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae)". The Condor. 107 (3): 514. doi:10.1650/0010-5422(2005)107[0514:MGEFPE]2.0.CO;2. ISSN 0010-5422.
- Federation of Alberta Naturalists. (1992) Glen P. Semenchuk (ed.). The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Edmonton, AB:Federation of Alberta Naturalists.
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- Solitary sandpiper - Tringa solitaria - USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
- Solitary sandpiper species account - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- "Tringa solitaria". Avibase.
- "Solitary sandpiper media". Internet Bird Collection.
- Solitary sandpiper photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
- Interactive range map of Tringa solitaria at IUCN Red List maps