Terek Sandpiper

Did you know?

Female Terek Sandpipers leave their breeding grounds to migrate in early July, before the males and juveniles, which leave later, mainly in August. Their estimated flight range is 3500 km - 4800 km.

Calls
When flying, calls 'twit-wit-wit-wit' rising slightly in pitch for each syllable.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
22cm
Maximum Size: 
24cm
Average size: 
23cm
Average weight: 
95g
Breeding season: 
May to August
Clutch Size: 
Two to five.
Incubation: 
23 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NT: 
QLD: 
SA: 
TAS: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
160
What does it look like?
Description: 

The Terek Sandpiper is a small dumpy sandpiper with short orange legs. The long slightly up-turned bill is orange at the base. The body is brownish-grey above and on the sides of the breast, and white below. The crown appears high, with a steep forehead. The flight is strong and direct, with flickering wings and a distinct white trailing edge is visible in flight. They roost in groups on the high tide, often with other waders and then spread out to feed.

Similar species: 

Like the Common SandpiperActitis hypoleucos, the Terek Sandpiper bobs and teeters on the shore, but is larger and deeper chested. It is smaller than theGrey-tailed TattlerTringa brevipes, with shorter wings. Its bill is longer than both. The bill is more up-turned than the bill of all other waders except the avocet.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

Terek Sandpipers are more common on the northern and eastern Australian coasts than in the south, but nowhere in large numbers. They breed mainly in Russia and Finland and migrate to coastal Africa, India, the Malayan peninsula and Australia.

Habitat: 

Terek Sandpipers are found on the coast in mangrove swamps, tidal mudflats and the seashore.

Seasonal movements: 

A migratory species, moving south from breeding grounds in Eurasia from July. They are found in Australia from August to March or April, with most remaining on the northern coast. They appear to show strong fidelity to one site, returning there each year. Small numbers remain in Australia over winter, mainly first year birds.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

Terek Sandpipers feed busily, walking briskly pecking at the surface or probing in shallow water, on soft wet intertidal mudflalts. They eat crustaceans and insects, adding seeds, molluscs and spiders in their breeding grounds. They feed at both high and low tides.

Breeding: 

The Terek Sandpiper breeds in marshland in valleys in the northern forests and Arctic tundra, often with other waders. As well as displaying in the air, the males spend time on the ground, singing loudly, with fluttering wings and tail raising. Males also defend the nest while the female incubates. The nest is shallow, lined with grass and located in the open or in short grass.

Living with us

Threats to waders such as the Terek Sandpiper on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (the migration route to Australia) include economic and social pressures such as wetland destruction and change, pollution and hunting.

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