Upland Sandpiper

Upland Sandpiper by Paul Conover
© paul conover
Bartramia longicauda
This species is well known in southern Louisiana under the French name of papabotte, which is one phonetic expression of the bird's call. There is an old French idea that those who eat the flesh of this bird are imbued with extraordinary amatory prowess. Possibly this belief, coupled with the alleged delicacy of its flesh, is the reason the papabotte was once killed in such great numbers. At one time it migrated throughout the length and breadth of the state in great flocks. Then, because of excessive hunting, it became extremely rare, so much so that doubts arose as to its ability to survive. The timely passage by Congress of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, in 1918, which forbade the killing of a long list of migratory birds, was the salvation of this and many other shorebirds.
Under protection the Upland Sandpiper, or Upland Plover as it was for a long time incorrectly called, is once again becoming a regular and often quite common transient in our state, from mid-March to mid-May and from July to late September. It is never, to my knowledge, seen on beaches but is instead a bird of cultivated fields and pastures throughout the state. The body is somewhat larger and heavier than that of the Killdeer, but the neck is disproportionately slender and the head disproportionately small. The color above is brownish, mottled with black; the underparts are whitish or pale buffy. The bill is relatively short and thin, and the long legs are greenish yellow.
One of the best field characteristics of the Upland Sandpiper is its mellow, gurgling call quip, ip, ip, ip or kip, ip, ip, ip. This is uttered either as it runs rapidly on the ground or as it flies high in the sky at night in its migrations up and down the Mississippi Valley on its way between the pampas of the Argentine and the fields of our own northern United States. --George H. Lowery, Jr., 1974, Louisiana Birds

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