Buff-breasted Sandpipers

The Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Tryngites subruficollis, breeds in the open arctic tundra of North America and is a very long-distance migrant, wintering mainly in South America, especially Argentina.

It migrates mainly through central North America and occurs as a regular wanderer to western Europe, where small flocks of them have been recorded in Great Britain or Ireland.

Non-breeding birds are normally found on short-grass habitats such as airfields or golf-courses, rather than near water. They can become very confiding.


The plumage is brown above, with a buff face and under plumage. It has a short bill and yellow legs.

Males and females look alike, except males are generally larger.

Juveniles resemble the adults, but may be paler on the rear underparts.

Nesting / Breeding

The male performs a courtship display during which he raises the wings to show off the white undersides. The Buff-breasted Sandpiper nests on the ground. The average clutch consists of four eggs.

Buff-breasted Sandpipers are believed to hybridize with the White-rumped or Baird’s Sandpipers.

Diet / Feeding

They mostly eat insects and other invertebrates (= animals without internal skeleton, such as larvae, earthworms, millipedes, snails, spiders).