- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Scolopacidae
A familiar bird in winter along the Pacific Coast, the Wandering Tattler’s plumage blends with dark gray rocks along the ocean. The tattler’s telltale unsteady gait comes from bobbing its tail as it hunts for insects, small mollusks, and crabs. On their arctic breeding grounds, they wear a snappy plumage of dark gray upperparts and neatly barred underparts. They display and forage along streams but conceal their nests in tundra, far from display areas. On migration, they may wander as far as South Pacific islands, over 7,500 miles away.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Look for Wandering Tattlers from early autumn through early spring along rocky Pacific shorelines. They do not form large flocks, but they sometimes forage with Surfbirds and Black Turnstones. They tend to stay near the water’s edge, feeding on wet rocks exposed by the tide. Because they are often well camouflaged, it is good to learn their loud, ringing call, often the first sign of their presence.
- Playero de Alaska (Spanish)
- Chevalier errant (French)
- Cool Facts
- The name "wandering" refers to this species’ widespread occurrence on islands across vast portions of the Pacific Ocean. "Tattler" refers to its voice; its alarm notes alert other birds to a hunter's presence.
- Wandering Tattlers perform elaborate flight displays over an area they use for foraging—but not for nesting. Some nest close to their foraging areas and chase away other tattlers that try to feed in it, but others tolerate visitors. And at least some male tattlers tolerate other males courting and mating with their female partners.
- Wandering Tattlers, like Pacific Golden-Plovers, seem to adapt well to human presence on Pacific islands in winter. Tattlers may hunt in flooded parts of golf courses, on piers, or even on rooftops.