Article and photos by Kathryn Mann
Several years ago, I was surprised to see a bird that looked like a sandpiper in a remote prairie in central Oklahoma that was more than one hundred miles from the nearest lakeshore or wetlands. I later identified that bird as the Upland Sandpiper, and learned that its home is truly on the range and other open grassy lands.
Upland Sandpiper sitting on a fence pole about 15 miles west of Webb City, Oklahoma
The Upland Sandpiper is a foot long. They have a small head, long neck and legs, and a sharp blacked-tipped yellow bill. It is primarily speckled brown on top and white with brown specks underneath.
Upland Sandpiper perching by a field near Oologah, Oklahoma
The Upland Sandpiper is also known as the Grass Plover and the Upland Plover.
Upland Sandpipers primarily eat insects and seeds.
Upland Sandpiper searching for insects in a field east of Bartlesville
The Upland Sandpiper was once an abundant bird, and became a popular game bird around 1900. Its population has declined significantly over the last one hundred years because of overhunting and loss of habitat
Upland Sandpiper in full regalia
The Upland Sandpiper does its breeding during the four months it visits North America. From mid-July to April Upland Sandpipers live east of the Andes in northeastern Argentina, Uruguay, southern Brazil, Paraguay and eastern Bolivia.
Upland Sandpipers live about five years in the wild.