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Sandpipers, Family Scolopacidae

Order: Charadriiformes
Suborder: Scolopaci
Family: Scolopacidae

The sandpipers are a large family, Scolopacidae, of waders or shorebirds. They include many species called sandpipers,
as well as those called by names such as curlew and snipe. 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.

Sandpipers have long bodies and legs, and narrow wings. Most species have a narrow bill, but otherwise the form
and length are quite variable. They are small to medium sized birds, measuring 12–66 cm cm in length.
The bills are sensitive, allowing the birds to feel the mud and sand as they probe for food.
They generally have dull plumage, with cryptic brown, grey, or streaked patterns,
although some display brighter colours during the breeding season.

Most species nest in open areas, and defend their territories with aerial displays. The nest itself is a simple scrape in the
ground, in which the bird typically lays three or four eggs. The young of most species are precocial.

Family Scolopacidae
This large family is often further subdivided into groups of similar birds.
These groups do not necessarily consist of a single genus, but as presented here they do form
distinct monophyletic evolutionary lineages.
The groups, with species numbers in parentheses, are:

Genus Numenius (8 species, of which 1–2 recently extinct)
Upland Sandpiper
Genus Bartramia (monotypic)
Genus Limosa (4 species)

Genus Limnodromus (3 species)
Snipe and woodcocks (nearly 30 species, plus some 6 extinct)
Genus Coenocorypha,
Genus Lymnocryptes,
Genus Gallinago see here
Genus Scolopax
Genus Phalaropus (3 species) see here
Shanks and tattlers (16 species)
Genus Xenus,
Genus Actitis
Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, of Eurasia
Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularia of North America
Genus Tringa which now includes Catoptrophorus and Heteroscelus see here
Polynesian sandpipers
Genus Prosobonia (1 extant species, 3–5 extinct)

Calidrids and turnstones:
Roughly 25 species, mostly in
Genus Calidris which might be split up into several genera.
Genus Calidris sensu stricto - knots Great Knot, Calidris tenuirostris
Red Knot, Calidris canutus

incertae sedis (Erolia s.str.?)
Curlew Sandpiper, ?Calidris ferruginea

Other calidrids (all at some time placed in Calidris too)
Genus N.N. (Ereunetes?) - stints
Semipalmated Sandpiper, "Calidris" pusilla or Ereunetes pusillus
Little Stint, "Calidris" minuta
Least Sandpiper, "Calidris" minutilla
White-rumped Sandpiper, "Calidris" fuscicollis
Baird's Sandpiper, "Calidris" bairdii
Dunlin, "Calidris" alpina
Red-necked Stint, "Calidris" ruficollis
Long-toed Stint, "Calidris" subminuta
Pectoral Sandpiper, "Calidris" melanotos
Sanderling, "Calidris" alba or Crocethia alba
Western Sandpiper, "Calidris" mauri or Ereunetes mauri
Purple Sandpiper, "Calidris" maritima
Rock Sandpiper, "Calidris" ptilocnemis
Temminck's Stint, "Calidris" temminckii
Buff-breasted Sandpiper, "Tryngites" subruficollis

Other genera currently accepted are
Genus Aphriza,
Genus Eurynorhynchus,
(doubtfully valid)
Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Eurynorhynchus pygmeus / Calidris pygmeus
Genus Limicola,
Genus Tryngites,
Genus Philomachus
, in addition to the 2 Arenaria turnstones.
Ruff, Philomachus pugnax
Broad-billed Sandpiper, Philomachus falcinellus / Limicola falcinellus ("Erolia falcinella")
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Philomachus acuminatus / Calidris acuminata
Genus Arenaria see here

Genus Micropalama
(doubtfully valid; Erolius s.str.?)
Stilt Sandpiper, Micropalama himantopus / Calidris himantopus

Engelsk Norsk Latinsk
Surfbird Brottsnipe Aphriza virgata
Common Sandpiper Strandsnipe Actitis hypoleucos
Spotted Sandpiper Flekksnipe Actitis macularia
Upland Sandpiper Præriesnipe Bartramia longicauda
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Spisshalesnipe Calidris acuminata 2)
Dunlin Myrsnipe Calidris alpina
Baird's Sandpiper Gulbrystsnipe Calidris bairdii
Red Knot Polarsnipe Calidris canutus
Curlew Sandpiper Tundrasnipe Calidris ferruginea
White-rumped Sandpiper Bonapartesnipe Calidris fuscicollis
Stilt Sandpiper Styltesnipe Calidris himantopus
Western Sandpiper Beringsnipe Calidris mauri
Pectoral Sandpiper Alaskasnipe Calidris melanotos
Little Stint Dvergsnipe Calidris minuta
Least Sandpiper Pygmésnipe Calidris minutilla
Rock Sandpiper Klippesnipe Calidris ptilocnemis
Semipalmated Sandpiper Sandsnipe Calidris pusilla
Red-necked Stint Rødstrupesnipe Calidris ruficollis
Long-toed Stint Langtåsnipe Calidris subminuta
Temminck's Stint Temmincksnipe Calidris temminckii
Great Knot Sibirsnipe Calidris tenuirostris
Subantarctic Snipe Langnebbdvergrugde Coenocorypha aucklandica
Chatham Islands Snipe Kortnebbdvergrugde Coenocorypha pusilla
Spoonbill Sandpiper Skjesnipe Eurynorhynchus pygmeus
Puna Snipe Punabekkasin Gallinago andina 1)
Wilson's Snipe Indianerbekkasin Gallinago delicata
Common Snipe Enkeltbekkasin Gallinago gallinago
Latham's Snipe Japanbekkasin Gallinago hardwickii
Imperial Snipe Keiserbekkasin Gallinago imperialis
Andean Snipe Nordandesbekkasin Gallinago jamesoni
Madagascar Snipe Madagaskarbekkasin Gallinago macrodactyla
Great Snipe Dobbeltbekkasin Gallinago media
Swinhoe's Snipe Bajkalbekkasin Gallinago megala
Wood Snipe Himalayabekkasin Gallinago nemoricola
African Snipe Afrikabekkasin Gallinago nigripennis
Noble Snipe Edelbekkasin Gallinago nobilis
South American Snipe Søramerikabekkasin Gallinago paraguaiae
Solitary Snipe Fjellbekkasin Gallinago solitaria
Pintail Snipe Sibirbekkasin Gallinago stenura
Fuegian Snipe Sørandesbekkasin Gallinago stricklandii
Giant Snipe Kjempebekkasin Gallinago undulata
Short-billed Dowitcher Kortnebbekkasinsnipe Limnodromus griseus
Long-billed Dowitcher Langnebbekkasinsnipe Limnodromus scolopaceus
Asian Dowitcher Asiabekkasinsnipe Limnodromus semipalmatus
Jack Snipe Kvartbekkasin Lymnocryptes minimus
Red Phalarope Polarsvømmesnipe Phalaropus fulicarius
Red-necked Phalarope Svømmesnipe Phalaropus lobatus
Wilson's Phalarope Hvithalesvømmesnipe Phalaropus tricolor
Magellanic Plover Gulpesnipe Pluvianellus socialis
Tuamotu Sandpiper Tuamotusnipe Prosobonia cancellata
Tahitian Sandpiper Tahitisnipe Prosobonia leucoptera (instinct)
Australian Painted-snipe Australriksesnipe Rostratula australis
Greater Painted-snipe Riksesnipe Rostratula benghalensis
American Painted-snipe Dvergriksesnipe Rostratula semicollaris
Gray-tailed Tattler Sibirvandresnipe Tringa brevipes 3)
Spotted Redshank Sotsnipe Tringa erythropus
Lesser Yellowlegs Gulbeinsnipe Tringa flavipes
Nordmann's Greenshank Sakhalinsnipe Tringa guttifer
Wandering Tattler Alaskavandresnipe Tringa incana
Greater Yellowlegs Plystresnipe Tringa melanoleuca
Common Greenshank Gluttsnipe Tringa nebularia
Green Sandpiper Skogsnipe Tringa ochropus
Willet Willetsnipe Tringa semipalmatus
Solitary Sandpiper Eremittsnipe Tringa solitaria
Marsh Sandpiper Damsnipe Tringa stagnatilis
Redshank Rødstilk Tringa totanus
Buff-breasted Sandpiper Rustsnipe Tryngites subruficollis
Terek Sandpiper Tereksnipe Xenus cinereus

1) Gallinago is a genus of birds in the wader family Scolopacidae, containing 16 species. This genus contains the majority
of the world's snipe species, the other three extant genera being Coenocorypha, with two species, and Lymnocryptes,
the Jack Snipe. Morphologically, they are all similar, with a very long slender bill and cryptic plumage.
Most have distinctive displays, usually given at dawn or dusk. They search for invertebrates in the mud with
a "sewing-machine" action of their long bills.

2) The calidris or typical waders are a group of Arctic-breeding, strongly migratory wading birds. These birds form
huge mixed flocks on coasts and estuaries in winter. They are the typical "sandpipers", small to medium-sized,
long-winged and relatively short-billed.

Their bills have sensitive tips which contain numerous Corpuscles of Herbst. This enables the birds to locate buried prey
items, which they typically seek with restless running and probing.

As the common name "sandpiper" is shared by some calidrids with more distantly related birds such as
the Actitis species, the term stint is preferred in Britain for the smaller species of this group.

3) Tringa is a genus of waders, containing the shanks and tattlers. They are mainly freshwater birds, often with brightly
coloured legs as reflected in the English names of six species, as well as the specific names of two of these and
the Green Sandpiper. They are typically associated with northern hemisphere temperate regions for breeding.
Some of this group — notably the Green Sandpiper — nest in trees, using the old nests of other birds, usually thrushes.

The Willet and the tattlers have recently been found to belong in Tringa; these genus changes were formally adopted
by the American Ornithologists' Union in 2006.


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