Solitary Sandpiper
(Tringa solitaria)

Summary

Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (flickr.com/photos/jukka_jantunen)
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Solitary Sandpiper breeds in muskeg and wooded swamps of the boreal forest, laying its eggs in abandoned nests of tree-nesting songbirds like American Robins. It migrates both overland and offshore to subtropical and tropical wintering grounds. Like other boreal-nesting shorebirds, it is difficult to study and monitor throughout the year. Results from the Breeding Bird Survey suggest that the population has increased in Canada relative to 1970. However, continent-wide surveys of southbound migrants suggest that the population has changed little overall. While the population status of Solitary Sandpiper in Canada is therefore somewhat uncertain, it has likely increased relative to 1970. Threats faced by the species are also poorly understood. With over 80% of the global breeding population, Canada's responsibility for the species is very high. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.

Designations

Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate IncreaseMediumAt an Acceptable Level
 

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada100,000 - 500,000 adults (includes birds breeding and migrating within Canada)
 

Distribution maps

 

Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery High

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between mid-May and early June and ends in mid-July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.
 

Conservation and management

Despite being widespread in Canada, the Solitary Sandpiper's ecology remains poorly known. Its remote breeding habitats in the west are difficult to access and harder still to survey (Elliott et al. 2010), though aerial work in Ontario has suggested this is not necessarily the case throughout the species' range (C. Friis, ECCC, pers. comm.). It migrates in small numbers or individually through a variety of habitats not used extensively by other migrant shorebirds, such as wooded swamps. It has apparently not lost much breeding habitat (Moskoff 2011), although climate change is expected to have a negative effect on boreal shorebird breeding habitat through increased fire frequency and intensity, and loss of wetland habitat to forest drying - especially in the southern boreal (Stewart et al. 1998, Soja et al. 2006). The species is harvested by sport and subsistence hunters in its non-breeding range, but some jurisdictions (e.g., Saint-Martin and Guadeloupe) have imposed hunting moratoria for the species owing to conservation concern (Watts and Turrin 2016).

 

Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NB -- Other
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NS -- Other
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, PE -- Other
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Ontario and Manitoba -- Conservation
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Other
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Ontario -- Conservation
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Conservation
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Other
Boreal Taiga PlainsBoreal Taiga Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Conservation
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NB -- Other
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NS -- Other
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, PE -- Other
Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves , sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NL -- Other
Northwestern Interior ForestNorthwestern Interior Forest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Stewardship
Scotian ShelfScotian Shelf, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NB -- Other
Scotian ShelfScotian Shelf, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NS -- Other
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NL -- Other
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Ontario -- Conservation
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Conservation
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Other
 

References