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Common Sandpiper

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A common sandpiper walks on tidal mud flats.



About the Common Sandpiper

Sandpipers are familiar birds that are often seen running near the water's edge on beaches and tidal mud flats. The common sandpiper has a brown upper body and a white underside. When at rest its wingtips reach halfway back to its tail. The bird is a European and Asian species, but is closely related to the similar-looking spotted sandpiper of the Americas.

Habitat

The common sandpiper is a migrator, but it frequents similar habitats year-round. When in upland areas, sandpipers live along river, ponds, or lakes.

Behavior

Common sandpipers are small to medium sized birds, but they have relatively long legs that they put to good use. When seen running in groups the birds appear to display a remarkable coordination of movement. Sandpipers are ground feeders that dine on crustaceans, insects, worms, and other coastal creatures. They retrieve them by meticulously pecking and probing with their short bills.

In flight, common sandpipers have a stiff-winged style and typically stay close to the water or ground. When airborne they tend to be vocal animals. They sound off with a distinctive three-note, piping-like cry—often represented as “twee-wee-wee.”