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Wandering Tattler Heteroscelus incanus


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Wandering Tattler
credit:  dominic sherony/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Scolopacidae, Sandpipers view all from this family

Description ADULT In breeding season, has dark gray upperparts and paler underparts heavily marked with dark barring; note pale supercilium. In winter, has uniformly gray upperparts and underparts with white belly. JUVENILE Similar to winter adult, but note subtle pale fringes to feathers on back and upper wing coverts.

Dimensions Length: 11" (28 cm)

Habitat Fairly common, nesting in Alaska and northwestern Canada beside mountain streams above timberline. Long-distance migrant, some birds wintering in Australia. Some remain in southern California; widespread and fairly common on Pacific rocky coasts on migration.

Observation Tips Fairly easy to find on rocky coasts in spring and fall; presence often first detected by hearing call.

Range Southwest, Northwest, Alaska, California, Western Canada

Voice Utters a whistling tui-tui-tui.

Discussion Plump-bodied shorebird, with a slender, straight bill and stout yellow legs. Plumage appears rather undistinguished, but close inspection reveals subtly attractive markings in breeding season. In flight, note uniformly dark wings. Unobtrusive habits (often feeds where waves are breaking on rocky shores) make it easy to overlook. Sexes are similar.