Curlew Sandpiper and Dunlins

© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). All rights reserved.

Curlew Sandpiper

Calidris ferruginea

  • Family: Sandpipers – Scolopacidae
  • Appearance: Slightly larger than the Dunlin, and has longer bill, neck and legs. White rump prominent on birds in flight, white wing stripes also fairly conspicuous, and only toes extend behind tip of tail. Mature birds have varying degrees of rusty red colouring on their underparts, but younger birds have grey underparts.
  • Size: Length 19–21.5 cm, wingspan 38–41 cm, weight 43–67 g.
  • Nest: A shallow depression among tundra vegetation, usually near a bog or pond.
  • Breeding: 4 eggs laid in June, incubated by both parents for 19–20 days. Fledglings leave the nest and learn to find food soon after hatching. They learn to fly within 14–16 days.
  • Occurrence: Scarce passage migrant. Breeds in Siberia in tundra habitats near the coast of the Arctic Ocean, seen in Finland on migration, mainly on seashores and Baltic islands.
  • Migration: Mainly by night. Older birds fly south in July–August, younger birds August–October, to winter in tropical Africa. Spring migration occurs in late May and early June.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: Trilling call “prrl” similar to call of Temminck’s Stint.
  • Endangerment: European red list status Vulnerable, globally Near threatened.

Curlew Sandpipers are larger than Dunlins, but more slender and with longer legs. Their long bills are clearly downcurved. In summer plumage, adults have brick red colouring on their heads, necks and bellies (paler on females) and black, white and reddish patterning on their upper parts. They have bright white rumps and white wing stripes.

Young Curlew Sandpipers closely resemble Dunlins, but their eyebrow stripes are divided into two parts, they have darker cheeks, and more uniform rusty yellowish breasts.

Curlew Sandpipers have dark brown legs and irises, and dark greenish bills.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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