Stilts, Sandpipers, Plovers

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74 records

The Stilts are found in brackish or saline wetlands in warm OR hot climates. They have extremely long legs, hence the group name, and long thin bills. Stilts typically feed on aquatic insects and other small creatures and nest on the ground surface in loose colonies.

The Sandpipers are a large family of waders or shorebirds. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.

Plovers are a widely distributed group of wading birds. There are about 40 species in the subfamily, most of them called Plover OR Dotterel. Plovers are found throughout the world, and are characterised by relatively short bills. They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipe do. They feed mainly on insects, worms or other invertebrates, depending on habitat, which are obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups.

Records

American Avocet

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American Woodcock

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Baird's Sandpiper

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Bar-tailed Godwit

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The bar-tailed godwit is a relatively short-legged species of godwit. The bill-to-tail length is 37–41 cm (15–16 in), with a wingspan of 70–80 cm (28–31 in). Males average smaller than females but with much overlap; males weigh 190–400 g (6.7–14.1 oz), while females weigh 260–630 g (9.2–22.2 oz); there is also some regional variation in size (see subspecies, below). The adult has blue-grey legs and a very long dark bill with a slight upward curve and pink at the tip. The neck, breast and belly are unbroken brick red in breeding plumage, off white in winter. The back is mottled grey.

Black Turnstone

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Black-necked Stilt

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Black-tailed Godwit

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The Black-tailed Godwit is a large wader with long bill (which is 12 cm long), neck and legs. During the breeding season, the bill has a yellowish or orange-pink base and dark tip; the base is pink in winter. The legs are dark grey, brown or black.

In flight, its bold black and white wingbar and white rump can be seen readily. When on the ground it can be difficult to separate from the similar Bar-tailed Godwit, but the Black-tailed Godwit's longer, straighter bill and longer legs are diagnostic. Black-tailed Godwits are similar in body size and shape to Bar-taileds, but stand taller.

It measures 42 cm from bill to tail with a wingspan of 82 cm. Males weigh around 280 g and females 340 g. The female is larger than the male.

Black-winged Stilt

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The Black-winged Stilt is a widely distributed very long-legged wader in the avocet and stilt family.

Adults are 35 cm long. They have long pink legs, a long thin black bill and are blackish above and white below, with a white head and neck with a varying amount of black. Males have a black back, often with greenish gloss. Females' backs have a brown hue, contrasting with the black remiges. In the populations that have the top of the head normally white at least in winter, females tend to have less black on head and neck all year round, while males often have much black, particularly in summer. This difference is not clear-cut, however, and males usually get all-white heads in winter.

Immature birds are grey instead of black and have a markedly sandy hue on the wings, with light feather fringes appearing as a whitish line in flight.

Bristle-thighed Curlew

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Broad-billed Sandpiper

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Buff-breasted Sandpiper

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The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is a medium sized Sandpiper. It is brown above, and has a buff face and underparts in all plumage. It has a short bill and yellow legs. Males are larger than females. Juveniles resemble the adults, but may be paler on the rear underparts.

It migrates mainly through central North America, and is uncommon on the coasts. It occurs as a regular wanderer to western Europe, and is not classed as rare in Great Britain or Ireland, where small flocks have occurred. Only the Pectoral Sandpiper is a more common American shorebird visitor to Europe.

This species nests on the ground, laying four eggs. The male has a display which includes raising the wings to display the white undersides, which is also given on migration, sometimes when no other Buff-breasted Sandpipers are present. Outside the breeding season, this bird is normally found on short-grass habitats such as airfields or golf-courses, rather than near water.

These birds pick up food by sight, mainly eating insects and other invertebrates. They are often very tame.

Buff-breasted Sandpipers are suspected to have hybridized with the White-rumped or Baird's Sandpiper.

Collared Plover

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Collared Pratincole

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This pratincole is 24–28 cm (9.4–11.0 in) long with a 60–70 cm (24–28 in) wingspan. It has short legs, long pointed wings, a long forked tail, and a short bill, which is an adaptation to aerial feeding. The back and head are brown, and the wings are brown with darker flight feathers. The belly is white. The underwings are chestnut, but look dark below.

Very good views are needed to distinguish this species from other pratincoles, such as the black-winged pratincole and the oriental pratincole, which may occur in its range. The latter species also has a chestnut underwing, but is shorter-tailed.

Common Greenshank

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Common Greenshank is a subarctic bird, breeding from northern Scotland eastwards across northern Europe and Asia. It is a migratory species, wintering in Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and Australasia, usually on fresh water. It breeds on dry ground near marshy areas, laying about four eggs in a ground scrape.

Common Greenshanks are brown in breeding plumage, and grey-brown in winter. When in water, they can appear very similar to Marsh Sandpipers but are distinguished by the shape of the lower bill which gives it an upturned appearance to the bill. They have long greenish legs and a long bill with a grey base. They show a white wedge on the back in flight. They are somewhat larger than the related Common Redshank.

Common Redshank

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The Common Redshank in breeding plumage is a marbled brown color, slightly lighter below. In winter plumage they become somewhat lighter-toned and less patterned, being rather plain greyish-brown above and whitish below. They have red legs and a black-tipped red bill, and show white up the back and on the wings in flight.

Common Sandpiper

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The adult Common Sandpiper has grayish brown upper parts, white underparts, short yellowish legs and a bill with a pale base and dark tip. Juveniles are barred above and have buff edges to the wing feathers.

This species is very similar to its closely related American counterpart, the slightly larger Spotted Sandpiper, in its non-breeding plumage, but its darker, olive legs and feet and the crisper wing pattern in flight tend to give it away; non-breeding Common Sandpipers also have some barring on the wings visible at close range.

Like that species, it has a distinctive stiff-winged flight low over the water. The Common Sandpiper breeds across most of Europe and Asia. It nests on the ground near fresh water.

The Common Sandpiper forages by sight on the ground or in shallow water, picking up small food items such as insects, crustaceans and other invertebrates. It may also catch insects in flight.

Common Snipe

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The Common Snipe is a small, stocky wader. The breeding habitat is marshes, bogs, tundra and wet meadows throughout northern Europe and northern Asia. It is migratory, with European birds wintering in southern and western Europe and Africa, and Asian migrants moving to tropical southern Asia.

Adults are30 cm in length with a 50 cm wingspan and a weight of 150 g. They have short greenish-grey legs and a very long straight dark bill. The body is mottled brown with straw-yellow stripes on top and pale underneath. They have a dark stripe through the eye, with light stripes above and below it. The wings are pointed. It is the most widespread of several similar snipes.

Crab Plover

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Curlew Sandpiper

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The curlew sandpiper is a small wader that breeds on the tundra of Arctic Siberia. It is strongly migratory, wintering mainly in Africa, but also in south and southeast Asia and in Australasia. It is a vagrant to North America.

These birds are small waders, only slightly larger than dunlin at 21 cm in length, but differ from Dunlin in having a longer down-curved bill, longer neck and legs and a white rump. The breeding adult has patterned dark grey upperparts and brick-red underparts. In winter, this bird is pale grey above and white below, and shows an obvious white supercilium. Juveniles have a grey and brown back, a white belly and a peach-coloured breast.

Double-striped Thick-knee

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Eskimo Curlew

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Eurasian Curlew

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The Eurasian Curlew is one of the most widespread of the curlews, breeding across temperate Europe and Asia. It is mainly grayish brown, with a white back, and a very long curved bill. Males and females look identical, but the bill is longest in the adult female. It is generally not possible to recognize the sex of a single Eurasian Curlew, or even several ones as there is much variation; telling male and female of a mated pair apart is usually possible however.

Eurasian Dotterel

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Eurasian Oystercatcher

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Golden Plover

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A medium-sized plover with a distinctive gold and black summer plumage. In winter the black in replaced by buff and white. They typically stand upright and run in short bursts.

Gray-tailed Tattler

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Great Thick-knee

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A thick-headed, massive-billed plover. Greyish sandy above, white below, with a distinctly upturned-looking black and yellow bill, and enormous yellowish "goggle" eyes with white spectacle-markings around them. Largely crepuscular and nocturnal. Spends the day drowsing in the full glare of sun on some baking hot sheet rock on a riverbed.

Greater Sand Plover

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Greater Yellowlegs

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Green Sandpiper

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Hudsonian Godwit

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Kentish Plover

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The Kentish Plover is a small wader in the plover bird family. Despite its name, this species no longer breeds in Kent, or even Great Britain. It breeds in a wide range, from southern Europe to Japan and in Ecuador, Peru, Chile, the southern United States and the Caribbean.

The Kentish Plover is 20 cm long. It is smaller, paler, longer-legged and thinner-billed than Ringed Plover. Its breast band is never complete, and usually just appears as dark lateral patches on the sides of the breast. The Kentish Plover's upperparts are greyish brown and the underparts white in all plumages. The breast markings are black in summer adults, otherwise brown. Breeding males of some races have a black forehead bar and a black mask through the eye. The legs are black. In flight, the flight feathers are blackish with a strong white wing bar. The flight call is a sharp bip.

Killdeer

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The Killdeer is a medium-sized plover. Adults have a brown back and wings, a white belly, and a white breast with two black bands. The rump is tawny orange. The face and cap are brown with a white forehead. They have an orange-red eyering. The chicks are patterned almost identically to the adults, and are precocial — able to move around right after hatching. The killdeer frequently uses a ""broken wing act"" to distract predators from the nest.

Their breeding habitat is open fields or lawns, often quite far from water, across most of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, with isolated populations in Costa Rica and in the Pacific coast of South America. Killdeer nest on open ground, often on gravel. They may use a slight depression in the gravel to hold the eggs, but they do not line it at all, or line it only with a few stones. Since there is no structure to stand out from its surroundings, a Killdeer nest blends marvelously into the background. Furthermore, the speckled eggs themselves look like stones. Like many other waders, Killdeer hatchlings are precocial birds and are able to see and forage soon after hatching

They are migratory in northern areas and winter as far south as northern South America. They are rare vagrants to western Europe, usually late in the year.

These birds forage for food in fields, mudflats, and shores, usually by sight. They mainly eat insects.

Least Sandpiper

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Lesser Sand Plover

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It breeds above the tree line in the Himalayas and discontinuously across to bare coastal plains in north-eastern Siberia, with the Mongolian Plover in the eastern part of the range; it has also bred in Alaska. It nests in a bare ground scrape, laying three eggs. This species is strongly migratory, wintering on sandy beaches in east Africa, south Asia and Australasia.

This plover is long-legged and long-billed. Breeding males have grey backs and white underparts. The breast, forehead and nape are chestnut, and there is a black eye mask. The female is duller, and winter and juvenile birds lack the chestnut, apart from a hint of rufous on the head. Legs are dark and the bill black.

Lesser Yellowlegs

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The Lesser Yellowlegs is a medium-sized shorebird similar in appearance to the larger Greater Yellowlegs. Their breeding habitat is clearings near ponds in the boreal forest region from Alaska to Quebec. They nest on the ground, usually in open dry locations. Chicks

They migrate to the Gulf coast of the United States and south to South America. This species is a regular vagrant to western Europe, and the odd bird has wintered in Great Britain.

These birds forage in shallow water, sometimes using their bill to stir up the water. They mainly eat insects, small fish and crustaceans.

Little Curlew

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Little Ringed Plover

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The Little Ringed Plover is a small plover. Adults have a grey-brown back and wings, a white belly, and a white breast with one black neckband. They have a brown cap, a white forehead, a black mask around the eyes with white above and a short dark bill. The legs are flesh-colored and the toes are all webbed.

This species differs from the larger Ringed Plover in leg color, the head pattern, and the presence of a clear yellow eye-ring.Their breeding habitat is open gravel areas near freshwater, including gravel pits, islands and river edges in Europe and western Asia. They nest on the ground on stones with little or no plant growth. Both male and female take turn to incubate the eggs.

They are migratory and winter in Africa. These birds forage for food on muddy areas, usually by sight. They eat insects and worms.

Little Stint

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The little stint is a very small wader. It breeds in arctic Europe and Asia, and is a long-distance migrant, wintering south to Africa and south Asia. It occasionally is a vagrant to North America and to Australia.

Its small size, fine dark bill, dark legs and quicker movements distinguish this species from all waders except the other dark-legged stints. It can be distinguished from these in all plumages by its combination of a fine bill tip, unwebbed toes and long primary projection. The call is a sharp "stit".

Long-billed Curlew

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Long-billed Dowitcher

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The Long-billed Dowitcher is a medium-sized shorebird. Adults have yellowish legs and a long straight dark bill. The body is dark brown on top and reddish underneath with spotted throat and breast, bars on flanks. The tail has a black and white barred pattern. The winter plumage is largely grey.

Their breeding habitat is wet tundra in the far north of North America and eastern Siberia. They nest on the ground, usually near water.

They migrate to the southern United States and as far south as Central America. Long-billed Dowitcher is a rare but regular visitor to western Europe, with some individuals staying for long periods.

These birds forage by probing in shallow water or on wet mud. They mainly eat insects, mollusks, crustaceans and marine worms, but also eat some plant material. They are more likely to be seen near fresh water.

Marbled Godwit

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Marsh Sandpiper

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The marsh sandpiper is a rather small shank, and breeds in open grassy steppe and taiga wetlands from easternmost Europe to central Asia. It resembles a small elegant greenshank, with a long fine bill and very long yellowish legs. Like the greenshank, it is greyish brown in breeding plumage, paler in winter, and has a white wedge up its back that is visible in flight. The length is 10.2 in, wingspan is 23 in and weight is 120 g.

It is a migratory species, with majority of birds wintering in Africa, and India with fewer migrating to Southeast Asia and Australia. They prefer to winter on fresh water wetlands such as swamps and lakes and are usually seen singly or in small groups.

Mountain Plover

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Painted Snipe

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It is medium-sized, plump wading bird. Long reddish-brown bill, slightly decurved at tip, and distinct white or pinkish eye patch. Rounded, buff-spotted wings and short tail. White of breast extends up around top of folded wing. The painted-snipe is not related to the true snipes and differs from them in habits, flight and appearance, being far more colorful and having longer legs than the snipes. It is unusual in showing reversed sexual dimorphism; the female is larger and more brightly colored than the male, with the sides of the head, neck and throat a rich chestnut brown, and a distinct black band across the breast; the male is paler and greyer.

Pied Avocet

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The pied avocet is a striking white wader with bold black markings. Adults have white plumage except for a black cap and black patches in the wings and on the back. They have long, upturned bills and long, bluish legs. It is approximately 16.5–17.75 in (41.9–45.1 cm) in length of which the bill is approximately 2.95–3.35 in (7.5–8.5 cm) and the legs are approximately 3–4 in (7.6–10.2 cm). Its wing-span is approximately 30–31.5 in (76–80 cm). Males and females look alike. The juvenile resembles the adult but with more greyish and sepia tones.

Piping Plover

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Purple Sandpiper

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Rock Sandpiper

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Ruddy Turnstone

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The Ruddy Turnstone is a small wading bird. It is a highly migratory bird, breeding in northern parts of Eurasia and North America and flying south to winter on coastlines almost worldwide. It is the only species of turnstone in much of its range and is often known simply as Turnstone.

It is a fairly small and stocky bird, 25 cm long with a wingspan of 60 cm and a weight of 150 gm. The dark, wedge-shaped bill is slightly upturned. The legs are fairly short and are bright orange.

Ruff

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The ruff has a distinctive gravy boat appearance, with a small head, medium-length bill, longish neck and pot-bellied body. It has long legs that are variable in colour but usually yellow or orange. In flight, it has a deeper, slower wing stroke than other waders of a similar size, and displays a thin, indistinct white bar on the wing, and white ovals on the sides of the tail .

It will feed at night as well as during the day. When feeding, the ruff frequently raises its back feathers, producing a loose pointed peak on the back; this habit is shared only by the black-tailed godwit.

Sanderling

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Semipalmated Plover

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Semipalmated Sandpiper

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Short-billed Dowitcher

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Slender-billed Curlew

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Small Pratincole

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The small pratincole is a resident breeder in India, Western Pakistan and southeast Asia. It breeds from December to March on gravel or sand banks in rivers, laying 2-4 eggs in a ground scrape. Breeding areas include small areas in northern Karnataka and northern Kerala near Kannur.

This species is only 18.5 cm in length, with a 16 cm wingspan. Because of its small size, the small pratincole can be briefly confused in flight with swifts or swallows.

This bird has short legs, long pointed wings and a short tail. Its short bill is an adaptation to aerial feeding. On the ground, it looks mainly pale grey. The crown of the head is brown.

The wings are grey above with black primaries and black and white bars at the rear edge of the inner flight feathers. The underwings are mainly black. The tail is white with a black terminal triangle. The belly is white.

The most unusual feature of the pratincoles is that although classed as waders they typically hunt their insect prey on the wing like swallows, although they can also feed on the ground.

The small pratincole is a species of open country, and is often seen near water in the evening, hawking for insects.

Snowy Plover

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Solitary Sandpiper

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Spotted Redshank

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The spotted redshank breeds across northern Scandinavia and northern Asia and migrates south to the Mediterranean, the southern British Isles, France, tropical Africa, and tropical Asia for the winter. It is an occasional vagrant to Australia and North America.

This is a large wader measuring 12 in long, with a wingspan of 26 in and a weight upto 205 g.

It is black in breeding plumage, and very pale in winter. It has a red legs and bill, and shows a white oval on the back in flight. Juveniles are grey-brown finely speckled white above, and have pale, finely barred underparts.

Spotted Sandpiper

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The Spotted Sandpiper nest on the ground. During each summer breeding season, females may mate with and lay clutches for more than one male, leaving incubation to them. This is called polyandry. Male parents of first clutches may father chicks in later male's clutchs, probably due to sperm storage within female reproductive tracts, which is common in birds. Females that fail to find additional mates usually help incubate and rear chicks. "Prior to incubation, blood plasma concentrations of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are substantially higher in males than in females" and these levels plummet 25-fold in males as incubation proceeds.

Stilt Sandpiper

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Surfbird

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Terek Sandpiper

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The Terek Sandpiper is named after the Terek River which flows into the west of the Caspian Sea, as it was first observed around this area.

It is slightly larger than the Common Sandpiper, its long up curved bill [somewhat similar to Avocet's, but not as strongly curved] makes it very distinctive. It has a grey back, face and breast in all plumages; a white supercilium may appear more or less distinct. The belly is whitish and the feet yellow; the bill has a yellowish base, with the rest being black.

Upland Sandpiper

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Wandering Tattler

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Western Sandpiper

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Whimbrel

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The Whimbrel is one of the most widespread of the curlews, breeding across much of subarctic North America, Europe and Asia as far south as Scotland. This is a migratory species wintering on coasts in Africa, South America, south Asia into Australasia and southern North America. It is also a coastal bird during migration. It is fairly gregarious outside the breeding season.

It is mainly greyish brown, with a white back and rump and a long curved bill (longest in the adult female) with a kink rather than a smooth curve. It is generally wary.

The usual call is a rippling whistle, prolonged into a trill for the song. The Whimbrel is smaller, has a shorter, decurved bill and has a central crown stripe and strong supercilia.

This species feeds by probing soft mud for small invertebrates and by picking small crabs and similar prey off the surface. Before migration, berries become an important part of their diet. It has also been observed taking insects, specifically blue tiger butterflies.

White-rumped Sandpiper

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Willet

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The Willet is a large shorebird in the sandpiper family. Its closest relative is the Lesser Yellowlegs, a much smaller bird with a very different appearance apart from the fine, clear and dense pattern of the neck which both species show in breeding plumage.

Adults have gray legs and a long, straight, dark and stout bill. The body is dark gray above and light underneath. The tail is white with a dark band at the end. The distinctive black and white pattern of the wings is a common sight along many North American coastal beaches.

Willets nest on the ground, usually in well-hidden locations in short grass, often in colonies. These birds forage on mudflats or in shallow water, probing or picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects, crustaceans and marine worms, but also eat some plant material.

The Willet's population declined sharply due to hunting in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their population has since increased, but they are still considered at risk, especially in light of continued habitat loss.

Wilson's Phalarope

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Wilson's Plover

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Wilson's Snipe

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Wood Sandpiper

Total Photos: 4

The Wood Sandpiper is the smallest of the shanks, which are mid-sized long-legged waders. It breeds in subarctic wetlands from the Scottish Highlands across Europe and Asia. They migrate to Africa and southern Asia, particularly India. Vagrant birds have been seen as far into the Pacific as the Hawaiian Islands. In Micronesia it is a regular visitor to the Marianas Islands and Palau.

This bird is usually found on freshwater during migration and wintering. They forage by probing in shallow water or on wet mud, and mainly eat insects and similar small prey.