Species Details

Details of Common Sandpiper will be displayed below

Common Sandpiper   

Common Name: Common Sandpiper
Scientific Name: Actitis hypoleucos
Local Name: Findhana
Dhivehi Name: ފިނދަނަ
Animalia  (Kingdom)
Chordata  (Plylum)
Aves  (Class)
Scolopacidae  (Family)
Actitis   (Genus)

Common Sandpiper's description

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) are familiar birds that are often seen running near the water's edge on beaches and tidal mud flats. The common sandpiper has a brown upper body and a white underside. When at rest its wingtips reach halfway back to its tail. The bird is a European and Asian species, but is closely related to the similar-looking spotted sandpiper of the Americas.

Common Sandpiper's facts

  • The adult is 18–20 cm (7.1–7.9 in) long with a 32–35 cm (13–14 in) wingspan.
  • Juveniles are more heavily barred above and have buff edges to the wing feathers.
  •  It has greyish-brown upperparts, white underparts, short dark-yellowish legs and feet, and a bill with a pale base and dark tip.
  • The common sandpiper is short-legged wader with a long, straight beak, relatively drab colouration, and a distinctive ‘teetering’ behaviour, in which the head and the rear of the body are constantly bobbed up and down when the bird is standing or walking

Common Sandpiper's Behavior & Ecology

Common sandpipers are small to medium sized birds, but they have relatively long legs that they put to good use. When seen running in groups the birds appear to display a remarkable coordination of movement. Sandpipers are ground feeders that dine on crustaceans, insects, worms, and other coastal creatures. They retrieve them by meticulously pecking and probing with their short bills.

In flight, common sandpipers have a stiff-winged style and typically stay close to the water or ground. When airborne they tend to be vocal animals. They sound off with a distinctive three-note, piping-like cry—often represented as “twee-wee-wee.”


Common Sandpiper's Feeding

The common sandpiper forages by sight on the ground or in shallow water, picking up small food items such as insects, Crustaceans and other Invertebrates; it may even catch insects in flight.

Common Sandpiper's Reproduction

The Common Sandpiper breeds in Europe and Asia within the period April to August. Approximately four eggs are laid, though three to five eggs per clutch can occur. The nest is usually close to water, though not always on flat ground or the slope of banks, concealed by vegetation or overhangs. Occasionally nests are on more open, bare ground or on artificial ledges. Incubation takes approximately 21–22 days, and chicks fledge in 26–28 days.

Common Sandpiper's Conservation

A common visitor to Maldives. The Common sanpiper (Actitis Hypoleucos) is not threatened. All the migratory birds are protected in Maldives by law.

Common Sandpiper habitat

Behaviour This species is a full migrant, migrating at night overland on a broad front across both deserts and mountains (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Small numbers may also remain in the northern maritime climatic zone (e.g. the British Isles, Mediterranean and Japan) throughout the year (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998). The European population that overwinters in West Africa migrates south between mid-July and August (juveniles following one month later), and returns to the breeding grounds from late-March to April (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998). Immature individuals may also remain in the winter range throughout the summer breeding season (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species breeds from May to June in scattered single pairs 60-70 m apart in optimal breeding habitat (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and migrates singly or in small flocks (del Hoyo et al. 1996), although it usually remains solitary in its winter range (Urban et al. 1986). It forages diurnally (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and may aggregate at night (Johnsgard 1981) into roosts of over 100 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding During the breeding season this species shows a preference for pebbly, sandy or rocky margins of fast-flowing rivers (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), as well as small ponds, pools (Snow and Perrins 1998) and dams (Urban et al. 1986), clear freshwater lake shores, sheltered sea coasts with rocky or sandy beaches, tidal creeks and estuaries (Urban et al. 1986), and often forages in patches of dry meadow (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It occurs from sea level up to 4,000 m or more in the mountains, but generally avoid frozen, snow-clad or very hot areas (Snow and Perrins 1998). Non-breeding In its winter range this species inhabits a wide variety of habitats, such as small pools, ditches, riverbanks (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), streams, dam shores (Yalden 1992), marshy areas (Johnsgard 1981), estuaries, freshwater seeps on coastal shores, tidal creeks in mangrove swamps and saltmarshes, harbours, docks (Yalden 1992, Snow and Perrins 1998) and filtration tanks of sewage works (Yalden 1992). It will also forage on grassland along roadsides and occasionally in gardens (Yalden 1992, del Hoyo et al. 1996), but it generally avoids large coastal mudflats (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet The diet of this species consists of adult and larval insects (such as beetles and Diptera), spiders, molluscs, snails, crustaceans, annelids, and occasionally frogs, toads, tadpoles and small fish, as well as plant material (including seeds) (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow depression, sometimes amongst shrubs and trees (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Common Sandpiper threats

The size of the breeding population in England is threatened by disturbance from recreational anglers (Yalden 1992).

Common Sandpiper's status