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Ornithological Presentation
Field Marks of Spotted Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper

by Chris Walters 03/03



SPOTTED SANDPIPER (actitis macularia) COMMON SANDPIPER (actitis hypoleucos)
Frequency in North America


Common breeding bird but becomes rare in winter north of S. Carolina or Seattle Extremely rare on East coast (<5 records); recorded annually Alaska and/or West Coast in winter
All Plumages




Behavior Pulsating wing-beats teeters Same as spotted
In Flight Short wing stripe seen mostly in primaries on outer wing Conspicuous longer wing stripe extends through secondaries on inner wing
Tail Extension Short-tailed has short tail extension beyond wing-tips Long-tailed; tail extends well beyond wing-tips
Voice Short whistled "Peet" or doubled "Peet-weet" "Hee-dee-dee" on rising alarm is urgent drawn-out "heeep"
Adult Breeding


Under parts Uniquely spotted No spotting, sides of breast brown and streaked
Leg Color Bright yellow flesh-colored or pink  dull yellow/gray
Adult Winter Leg Color Yellowish and usually brighter than Common Sandpiper Greenish brownish or dull yellowish/gray




Breast Breast-sides tend to be grayer and more uniform Breast-sides tend to be browner and less uniform
Tertials Tertial edges are plain Tertial edges finely notched with pale buff
Wing Coverts Barring contrasts with plainer scapulars Barring not strong contrast with scapulars
Bill Pale pink with dark tip Dull;  not pink


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