Migratory Birds of the Great Lakes University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
 about habitat birds + science 20 birds
aerialist raptors
copyright UW Sea Grant, writer: L. Wiland, design: T. Yao contact us credits

Spotted Sandpiper — Nest and Eggs

The Spotted Sandpiper nests on the ground and near water, usually in grass or among rocks or shrubs, using a shallow depression lined with moss, grass and feathers. This bird is polyandrous, which means that females usually take several male mates — sometimes up to five of them! Competition among females for males is intense, and may occasionally result in physical combat. Females defend the territory and leave the males to tend the nest and eggs and take care of the young. This unusual nesting behavior is found in about one percent of all bird species.

Clutch size is usually 4, but ranges from 3-5 eggs, which are creamy-buff with heavy brown spotting. Incubation takes 20-24 days; at hatching, chicks are downy and able to leave the nest, and within 30 minutes they start exhibiting distinctive “teetering” behavior. The chicks fledge 17-21 days after hatching.