Birds of the World

COAST BIRDS
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  Index
WORLD BIRDS
  Contents
  Index

ANECDOTES

  Western Sandpipers
 
 
 

TRAITS
 Ratites
 Tinamous
 Cracids/Galli
 Waterfowl
   Screamers
   Ducks

 Penguins
 Loons
 Grebes
 Procellarids
   Albatrosses
   Petrels
   Storm-Petrels

Totipalmate Swm

   Tropicbirds
   Gannets/Boobies
   Pelicans
   Cormorants
   Anhingas
   Frigatebirds

 
Waders
   Herons
   Ibises
   Storks  

 NW Vultures
 Flamingos
 Raptors
 Gruiformes
   Buttonquail
   Bustards
   Cranes
   Rails

 Shorebirds
   Sandgrouse
   Plovers
   Oystercatchers
   Stilts
   Sandpipers
   Gulls/Terns
   Auks

 Pigeons
 Parrots
 Turacos
 Cuckoos
 Owls
 Frogmouths
 Nightjars
 Swifts/Humbd
 Colies
 Coraciae

   Hornbills
   Hoopoes
   Trogons
   Rollers
   Kingfishers
   Bee-eaters
   Jacamars/Puffbd

 
Pici
   Honeyguides
   Woodpeckers
   Barbets/Toucans

PASSERINES
   NZ WRENS
   OW SUBOSC

      Broadbills
      Pittas

 NW SUBOSC
   NW Flycatchers

   Becards
   Cotingas
   Manakins
   Antbirds
   Ovenbirds
   Woodcreepers
   Antthrushes
   Tapaculos 

 OSCINES
 Lyre-/Scrub-birds
 Bowerbirds
 Aust. Wrens
 Honeyeaters
 Scrubwrens
 Aust. Robins
 Kinglets
 Shrikes
 Vireos
 Whistlers
 Corvids
 Birds-of-Paradse
 OW Orioles
 Cuckoo-shrikes
 Fantails
 Drongos
 Monarchs
 Bush-shrikes
 Wattle-eyes
 Vangas
 Waxwings
 Dippers
 Thrushes
 OW Flycatchers
 Starlings
 Mimids
 Nuthatches
 N Creepers
 Wrens
 Gnatcatchers
 Tits/Parids
 Larks
 Swallows
 Leaf-Warblers
 Bulbuls
 Cisticolas
 White-eyes
 Babblers
 OW Warblers
 Flowerpeckers
 Sunbirds
 OW Sparrows
 Accentors
 Pipits
 Estridids
 Weavers
 Whydahs
 9-prim. Oscines

   Fringillines
   Carduelines
   Hawaiian Honycrp
   NW Sparrows
   NW Warblers
   Tanagers
   Cardinals
   NW Blackbirds

TOP

 
Charadriiformes / Charadrii - Sandpipers
 
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Shorebirds, Charadriiformes
Pterocli - Sandgrouse
Charadrii - Shorebirds
Families: Seedsnipe, Plains-wanderer, Thick-knees, Plovers and Lapwings, Oystercatchers,
    IbisbillStilts and Avocets, Painted Snipe, Jacanas, Magellanic Plover, Sheathbills,
    Sandpipers, Phalaropes
Lari - Gulls, Terns, Skimmers
Families: Crab Plovers, Pratiincoles and Coursers, Jaegers and Skuas, Gulls, Terns, Skimmers
Alcae - Auks
Families: Auks
 
Species:   
Pacific Golden-Plover, Southern Lapwing, Blackish Oystercatcher,
American Black Oystercatcher
, Silver Gull, Western Gull, Heermann's Gull, Lava Gull, Swallow-tailed Gull, Kelp Gull, Dolphin Gull, South American Tern
 
Images:   
Sanderling, Willet, Piping and Semipalmated Plovers,
Masked, Southern, Red-wattled, and Northern Lapwings
, White-tailed Plover,
Eurasian, Blackish, and American Black Oystercatchers, Pied Stilt,
Northern and Wattled Jacanas, Snowy SheathbillWillet, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper,
Red Phalarope, Alaskan shorebirds, Laughing Gull, Forster's Tern, Black Skimmer,
South Polar Skua
, Bonaparte's Gull, Fairy Tern, Black Skimmer,
Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Klittliz's Murrelet, Black Guillemot, and Tufted Puffin
 
  Family Scolopacidae - Sandpipers and Phalaropes
Wiki     ToL     EoL
EXAMPLE
 
88 species, 21 genera (Sibley and Monroe, 1990). Dickinson (2003) and Harris (2009) list 92 species in 23 genera. Clements (2007) lists 89 species. Worldwide, including high latitudes in the Arctic.

   Distinct monophyletic lineages (Wiki) within the family include:
      Curlews - Numenius (8 species)
      Upland Sandpiper - Bartramia
      Godwits - Limosa (4 species)
      Dowitchers - Limnodromus (3 species)
      Snipe and Woodcocks - Coenocorypha, Gallinago, Scolopax (~30 species)
      Phalaropes - Phalaropus (3 species)
      Shanks and Tattlers - Xenus, Actitis, Tringa (including Catoptrophorus and Heterosceleus) (16 species)
      Polynesian Sandpipers - Prosobonia (1 species)
      Calidris and Turnstones - Calidris, Aphriza, Euryorhynchus, Limicola, Tryngites, Philomachus, Arenaria (~25 species)

Harris (2009) recognizes several subfamilies:
   Subfamily Calidrinae -- sandpipers
   Subfamily Arenariinae - turnstones
   Subfamily Tringinae - shanks, godwits, curlews
   Subfamily Phalaropodinae - phalaropes
   Subfamily Gallinagininae - snIpes and dowitchers
   Subfamily Scolopacinae - woodcocks.

   Shorebirds (waders to Europeans) range from small to medium in size with similar body shape. Many are sexually dimorphic (either sex may be larger). The head is relatively small and the neck may be short or medium in length. The eyes are placed well forward (and are particularly large in woodcocks). The bill is variable (short to very long; straight to decurved) and is usually pointed (the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Eurynorhynchus pygmeus, has a spatulate bill). The bill has sensory pits near the tip and can be flexed in the middle or near the tip to grasp prey in deep mud (woodcock, dowitchers, etc.). It is not swollen distally (as in plovers). The legs are fairly short to long. Toes have lateral membranes (and are lobed in phalaropes), a hallux is present (except Crocethia), and the tarsus is transversely scutellate front and back (in most). Wings are shorter in residents and longer and more pointed in migratory species. Some are eutaxic, others diastaxic. The tail is square or rounded and is of moderate length. Their is wide variation in plumage color - most are brighter in the breeding season than in winter. Their ventral plumage is sparse (not dense) and they are often streaked above. They have short tails.
   Some species are largely solitary, others are found in small groups, and some form large flocks (watch Red Knots perform on our beach in spring). Most live in association with water. Some inhabit bogs and moorlands. Woodcocks are found in woodlands.
   Variations in the bill are related to the variety of foods and feeding methods they adopt. Short-billed birds feed on prey found by sight. Long-billed forms probe in mud and prey is sensed (touch/smell) and eaten. Some may hunt visually by day and by probing at night. Tides influence feeding cycles. Sandpipers glean the surface of water and sand (mud) for food or probe into sand or mud for worms and other invertebrates. Snipe forage in shallow water by digging with their head and bill, detecting prey by touch. Woodcocks forage in soft earth and leaf litter. Turnstones search around various objects such as seaweeds and shells on the beach or in mollusk beds. Phalaropes spin rapidly to stir up aquatic insects. Sandpipers eat a variety of invertebrates - crustaceans, eggs, larvae, mollusks, etc. Larger shorebirds eat lugworms and ragworms, adding flying insects to their diet. Woodcocks eat earthworms and other invertebrates and some seeds and leaves. Turnstones are essentially omnivorous.
   Most shorebirds are able to swim but only phalaropes do so regularly and for long periods.
   Most species perform extensive migrations - nesting in the north and moving south in winter (similar movements are less prominent in the Southern Hemisphere - there is little land suitable for breeding in higher latitudes of the hemisphere). Some are trans-equatorial migrants.
   Shorebirds have elaborate courtship displays, often including song-flights.
   Most shorebirds are monogamous. Most sandpipers nest on the ground, using a scrape or shallow cup with a variety of linings. Others use abandoned nests of other birds in trees. Most lay 4 (2-4) eggs. Both parents incubate (with variations - in some, the female provides all the care; in others the female incubates and the male cares for the young; in the Sanderling, Calidris alba, there are two clutches and the male takes sole care of the second). Incubation takes 16-20 days in the smaller shorebirds, and 35-45 days in curlews. Young are precocial (exception, snipes and woodcocks feed their young at first). Chicks are able to walk soon after hatching and quickly leave the nest with their parents.
    In phalaropes and Spotted Sandpipers, Actitis macularia, females may have several mates sequentially and lay clutches for each (they are serially polyandrous). In the Ruff (Wiki), males display communally, and mate with interested females who then nest, lay, incubate, and raise the young (they are polygynous)                 
 
Willet
Sanderling
Western Sandpiper
 
Willet, Catoptrophorus semipalmatus.
North Beach
                                                    SI Web
Sanderling, Calidris alba.
North Beach
                                                       SI Web
Western Sandpiper, Calidris mauri.
North Beach
                                                     SI Web
  Common Redshank Common Redshank, Tringa totanus.
Oropus, Greece.
Photo by Ed Konrad
                                  Wiki     ToL     EoL
 
   
  Phalaropes
Wiki     ToL     EoL
  3 species, 1 genus (Phalaraopus).
   Phalaropes (often recognized as a subfamily of the Scolopacidae) are specialized shorebirds with laterally compressed tarsi and short webs between the bases of the front toes. All toes are fringed by a narrow membrane in Wilson's Phalarope, Phalaropus tricolor, and are bordered with small lobes in the two other species. Phalaropes take most of their food from the surface of the water and all species spin rapidly with their legs dangling. This creates a vortex that brings food items swirling to the surface. They sometimes "dabble" while feeding. Red-necked Phalaropes, Phalaropus lobatus, and Red Phalaropes, P. fulicarius, form flocks in winter and remain at sea where they feed on plankton. Female phalaropes are larger and brighter than the males. They male incubates the eggs and cares for the young - females may mate with more than one male (polyandry).
 
Red
Red Phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
                                                      SI Web
 
     
  ID Quiz    
 
Shorebirds

This image contains a Mew Gull, at least 3 Greater Yellowlegs, 2 American Wigeons, 3? dowitchers (Long-billed?), and a bunch of Marbled Godwits. Study the larger image...

Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage, AK
                                 Photo by Ed Konrad

       
    Banner - Dowitchers. Mary Pond. Bear Island WMA.