Medium-sized to large, long-legged shorebird (290 to 330 mm long, 111 to 235 g) with pale-spotted dark brown upperparts and pale underparts. In alternate plumage, develops heavy dark streaks on head and neck barring on flanks and upper belly. Basic and juvenile plumages are less heavily marked, especially below. Sexes similar in plumage and size. Slender and long necked with long bright yellow legs and long dark bill give it an elegant, upright appearance (Elphick and Tibbitts 1998).
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
The Bozeman area migration periods are from April 15 to May 23 and July 25 to October 10, with peaks at April 20 and September 1 (Skaar 1969).
In migration these birds occupy the edges of marshes and slow-moving rivers. In Bozeman area they also occur along mudflats (Skaar 1969). Restricts itself as a breeder to swampy muskeg habitats of central Canada and southern Alaska. During the nonbreeding season, it inhabits fresh and saline wetlands across the Americas (Elphick and Tibbitts 1998).
Small aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, small fish, frogs, and occasionally seeds or berries (Elphick and Tibbitts 1998).
Most nests found to be on the ground at base of short coniferous trees. Eggs are ovate pyriform shaped, variable in ground colors from smoke-gray to olive-gray to tawny-olive and are spotted. Clutch size typically 3 or 4. Nesting typically in the months of May and June restricted to Canada and Alaska (Elphick and Tibbitts 1998).