Appropriately patterned for its habitat, the Upland Sandpiper may be identified by its plump, mottled gray-brown body and large size (11 ½ inches). Other characteristics of this species include large black eyes, long yellow bill, and long legs. Males and females are similar to one another in all seasons. The Upland Sandpiper breeds primarily across a large portion of the northern Great Plains. Outside of this core range, smaller breeding areas occur in Alaska, the Great Lakes region, and in the northeastern United States. In fall, this species leaves North America entirely to winter in southern South America. Unusually for a shorebird, the Upland Sandpiper tends to stay away from the coast, living instead in interior grasslands. On its breeding grounds, this species prefers dry grassland with moderate vegetation and ground cover. This species utilizes the same type of habitat on its winter range in South America. Upland Sandpipers primarily subsist on insects and larvae, with smaller quantities of plant matter taken at any season. The Upland Sandpiper may best be seen foraging for food in low vegetation. This species builds its nest in patches of taller vegetation, and are thus difficult to observe nesting. Upland Sandpipers are most active during the day.
Uncommon migrant in April and May and July to September. Found in agricultural areas and meadows, occasionally in marshes. Plumage is duller in fall than in spring and summer. Sexes are alike.