Common sandpiper

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The common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) belongs to the family of snipes and sandpipers, the Scolopacidae.

The common sandpiper is distributed in Europe, Asia, Africa, Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and Australia. These sandpiper species are fully migratory birds. These sandpipers are monotypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Common Sandpiper Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) is a small sandpiper, measuring 18 to 22 cm in length and weighing 30 to 90 grams. The wingspan is 37 to 42 cm.

The common sandpiper has grayish brown upperparts, throat and breast. The underparts are white. The wintering birds are paler and have more conspicuous barring. There is a dark lore extending beyond the eye. There is a pale supercilium.

The grayish bill is long and sharp. The irises are blackish. There is a white eye-ring. The legs and feet are short and grayish yellow. The call is a loud, rapid squeaking sound.
Bird World - Image of Common sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
1.Bird World - Common sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
Image by Dr. Raju Kasambe

Bird World - Image of Common sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
2.Bird World - Common sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
Image by Vengolis

Bird World - Image of Common sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
3.Bird World - Common sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
Image by Juan Emilio

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The common sandpiper is distributed in Arctic, subarctic and temperate regions of Europe and Asia. The wintering populations are distributed in Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, southern China and Australia.

Vagrant populations are found in USA, Samoa, New Zealand, Kiribati, Iceland, French Southern Territories, Fiji and Faroe Islands (Denmark).

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of this species in Russia is Forty islands. The IBA in Austria are, Tyrolian Lech valley and Pielachtal.

Ecosystem and habitat

The sandpiper species have low forest dependence. They normally occur in altitudes between 0 to 100 meters.

The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include aquatic ponds, water storage areas, wastewater treatment areas and rural gardens.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these species include tundra grasslands, Arctic tundra, temperate grasslands, coastal lagoons, coastal lakes, intertidal shoreline, tidepools, estuaries and freshwater lakes.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of the common sandpiper species consists mainly of invertebrates. Insects, insect larvae, crustaceans, molluscs, annelids and spiders are their primary food. These species occasionally take small vertebrates and seeds.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of this sandpiper species is from May to July in most of its breeding range. These species are mostly monogamous. In some instances polyandry has been observed.

The nesting sites are located in sandy, rocky margins of rivers and waterbodies. The nest is a shallow scrape on the ground and the clutch contains 3 to 6 white eggs with brown blotches.

Migration and movement patterns

The common sandpiper species is fully migratory. The breeding populations occur in Arctic, subarctic and temperate regions of Europe and Asia. After breeding and rearing the young, they migrate southwards.

These sandpiper species winter in sub-saharan Africa, coastal Arabian peninsula, Indian subcontinent, southern parts of China, Southeast Asia and Australia. The return migration to the breeding grounds takes place in early summer.

Common sandpiper - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Actitis hypoleucos
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Tringa Hypoleucos Linnaeus, 1758
  • Family: Scolopacidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • , Vernacular names: English: Common sandpiper, Chinese: 矶鹬, French: Chevalier guignette, German: Flussuferläufer, Spanish: Andarríos chico, Russian: Перевозчик, Japanese: イソシギ
  • Other names: Common Sandpiper, Eurasian Sandpiper
  • Distribution: Asia, Europe, Africa, Indian Subcontinent, southeast Asia, Australia
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, spiders, molluscs, crustaceans, invertebrates, small vertebrates
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) is estimated to number about 2,600,000 to 3,200,000 individual birds (Wetlands International 2015). The overall population trend of the species is considered to be decreasing.

In most of its range, this species is reported to be widespread and common. The generation length is 6.8 years. Its distribution size is about 47,200,000

Habitat alteration, climate change, severe weather, human disturbance, recreational activities and trapping of adults and juveniles for pet-trade are the main threats that are endangering the survival of this sandpiper species.

IUCN and CITES status

The common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the sandpiper species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Actitis hypoleucos
Species:A. hypoleucos
Binomial name:Actitis hypoleucos
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) is closely related to the spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularius).
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1.Image source: (cropped)
Author: Dr. Raju Kasambe | License: CC BY-SA 4.0 as on 10/17/18
2.Image source: (cropped)
Author: Vengolis | License: CC BY-SA 3.0 as on 10/17/18
3.Image source: (cropped)
Author: Juan Emilio | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 as on 10/17/18
Detailed description and information on distribution, habitat, behavior, feeding and breeding habits, migration and conservation status of beautiful birds with their images.
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