The Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) is a small wading wetlands bird in the Scolopacidae family of shorebirds.
The Curlew Sandpiper is mottled brown with dark-grey upperparts, rust-red underparts, and a white rump. In winter, it has pale-grey upperparts and white underparts. It has a long down-curved black beak, a long neck, a small head, and grey legs.
It grows to 18-23 centimetres (7-9 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 38-41 centimetres (15-16 inches).
The Curlew Sandpiper is seen in Siberia, Africa, India, Australia, and New Zealand. It prefers wetlands, such as rivers, marshes, and the shore – along coastal areas. It is a wader, walking through watery ponds and pools.
It feeds on insects, such as beetles, gasshoppers, and flies, and small invertebrate animals, such as worms, that it finds in the soft mud along the coast or in marshes.
It lives in flocks.
The female lays 3-4 eggs on the ground in a well-hidden nest. The nest is made of grass and leaves. The female sits on the eggs and takes care of her young.
The eggs hatch after 20-23 days. The chicks are precocial, because they are born with some soft feathers, called down feathers. Altricial chicks are born without feathers.
It breeds in Siberia. After breeding, it migrates south to warmer locations. It migrates to Africa in winter, but some also fly as far south as India, Australia, and New Zealand.
The average lifespan is 4-5 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM