Mostly restricted to the alpine zone, usually breeds along rocky or scrubby vegetated edges of mountain streams and lakes; frequents rapidly-flowing streams and tundra habitats, wet meadows, moraine deposits, scree slopes, braided rivers, sometimes found in forest clearings away from water. Often nests on the ground in a rocky or gravelly site. In Prince William Sound, Alaska, known to nest above tide line on gravel areas of the immediate coast, and also commonly observed nesting on/near sparsely vegetated tailing piles in areas of old placer mining activity (Weeden 1965, Johnsgard 1981, Weeden 1959 in Gill et al. 2002a). Nests also observed in dwarf shrub tundra near streams or lakes (Spindler et al. 1980, Gill et al. 2002a).
Gill, R. E., B. J. McCaffery and P. S. Tomkovich. 2002a. Wandering tattler (Heteroscelus incanus). In The Birds of North America, No. 642, (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists’ Union.
Johnsgard, P. A. 1981. The plovers, sandpipers, and snipes of the world. Univ. of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.
Spindler, M. A., M. A. Mouton and S.O. MacDonald. 1980. Biological surveys in the Firth-Mancha Research Natural Area, Alaska, 1979-1980. Fairbanks, AK: William O. Douglas Arctic Wildlife Range, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 91 pp.
Weeden, R.B. 1965. Further notes on Wandering Tattlers in central Alaska. Condor 67:87–89.