Sandpipers Page 6

Stilt Sandpiper

The Stilt Sandpiper is a bird that reaches a height of 81/2 inches tall. As with many other types of shorebirds, the Stilt Sandpiper has striking plumage in the summer months and is a much duller gray color during the winter months. The bird also has long green legs and a curved bill. The Stilt Sandpiper likes to live in grassy pools and near ponds and lakes. The female Stilt Sandpiper lays 4 eggs in a nest that is built along the ground. Both the male and female Stilt Sandpipers assume the responsibility of keeping the eggs warm. For food, the Stilt Sandpiper eats insects. They will search deep in the mud to retrieve the insects. The only months that Stilt Sandpipers can be seen along the Outer Banks is May through August.

Buff-Breasted Sandpiper

The Buff-Breasted Sandpiper is a bird that reaches a height of 8 inches tall. The bird mostly has buff colored feathers. The preferred habitat of the Buff-Breasted Sandpiper is dry, cool areas. The female Buff-Breasted Sandpiper lays 4 eggs in a nest that is built in the grass in the tundra. The preferred food sources of the Buff-Breasted Sandpiper are insects. Compared to some types of sandpipers, the Buff-Breasted is considered to be fairly tame. The Buff-Breasted Sandpiper is hardly ever seen in the state of North Carolina.


The Ruff grows to be 11 inches tall. In this particular species of sandpiper, the male bird is a lot taller than the female. The male Ruff also is a lot more colorful than the female. In breeding season, males can be many different colors, such as chestnut, black, gray and buff. The female is usually a dull gray color all year round. The leg color of the bird also varies. They can be green, yellow, brown or red. Both sexes of Ruff have 2 noticeable white patches around the rump of the bird. The habitat of the Ruff is grassy meadows and marshy ponds. The female Ruff lays 4 eggs in a nest built in the grass along the marshy area. For food Ruffs eat insects located along coastal areas. The sight of a Ruff in North Carolina is very rare.

Short-Billed Dowitcher

The Short-Billed Dowitcher grows to a height of 11 inches tall. The Short-Billed Dowitcher resembles the Long-Billed Dowitcher in appearance. Both birds have long, straight bills. The bird is brown in color with black spots dotted along its' body. Short-Billed Dowitchers can be spotted living along coastal areas and inland on freshwater lakes and marshes. Both male and female Short-Billed Dowitchers help build the nest. The female lays 3 to 4 eggs in the nest. Both species take turns keeping the eggs warm. For food, the Short-Billed Dowitcher eats insects, snails, worms, leeches, and seeds. The bird probes deep into the mud looking for its' prey with its bill. The best time to see a Short-Billed Dowitcher living along the Outer Banks is the Month of March and also July through September.

Long-Billed Dowitcher

The Long-Billed Dowitcher grows to be 12 inches tall. It is very similar in appearance to its cousin, the Short-Billed Dowitcher. The bird likes to live in freshwater areas and mudflats. Their preferred habitat differs from the Short-Billed. The female Long-Billed Dowitcher lays 4 eggs built in the grass. Both the male and female take turns making sure the eggs are kept warm. For food, the Long-Billed Dowitcher eats insects, worms, and seeds. They use their long bill to probe deep into the mud to retrieve their sources of food. The Long-Billed Dowitcher can be spotted along the Outer Banks during the months of September through October.

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Terms: The Birds of the Outer Banks: Sandpipers Page 6

The Birds of the Outer Banks;Sandpipers Page 6

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