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Bird name:

Curlew Sandpiper

Calidris ferruginea




Sandpipers (Scolopacidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Tundra, Marshes, Bogs, Arctic regions, Coasts

Breeding Type:


Egg Colour:

Buff with dark brown spotting.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 8

Incubation Days:

18 - 20

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:


Nest Location:

On ground




Curlew Sandpiper: Medium-sized shorebird with slightly decurved bill. Dark, red-brown on head, neck, and underparts, back mottled golden brown, black, and white. Some white on the face and on the vent, and dark streaking on the crown. In fast, direct flight, shows white rump and wing stripe. Sexes similar, show much more white on head, neck, and underparts when moulting into winter plumage that is pale grey above with white eyebrow, and white below. Juveniles white below with pale yellow on the breast, and mottled, scale-like upperparts

Range and Habitat

Curlew Sandpiper: Passage visitor to nearly the entire coast of England, as well as the east coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Most often seen in early autumn as birds head from Siberia to winter grounds in Africa. Marshes, lagoons, and mudflats are all areas where birds can be seen.

Breeding and Nesting

Curlew Sandpiper: Nests are built in open tundra, or near marshes, on islands and along coastlines. Prefers wet depressions, bogs, and melting snow on southward-facing slopes. Nest is a cup. Predation by Arctic foxes affects breeding success, especially when there are few lemmings for foxes to eat.

Foraging and Feeding

Curlew Sandpiper: Forages mostly in intertidal mud and shallow marshes by pecking and probing in a"stitching" motion. Finds insects and other small invertebrates mostly by sight. In winter eats mollusks and crustaceans; occasionally insects, seeds.


Curlew Sandpiper: Call is a pleasant, liquid "chirrup" or "chirrip" in flight, or a "wick-wick-wick" in alarm. Male sings while flying on breeding grounds.

Similar Species

Curlew Sandpiper: The Dunlin is smaller, with shorter legs and typically has a slightly shorter and less curved bill. It also does not have an all-white rump.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX