Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Sharp -tailed Sandpiper

As it is Wednesday again, I will be showing you an Australian bird again. 
Today it is the Sharp -tailed Sandpiper - Calidris acuminata.  
It is plump, medium sized wader - 17 -22cms

Breeding adults are a rich brown with darker feather centres above, and white underneath apart from a buff breast.  They have a light superciliary line above the eye and a chestnut crown.  In winter, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers are grey above.  The juveniles are brightly patterned above with rufous colouration and white mantle stripes.

This bird looks a lot like the Pectoral Sandpiper, within whose Asian range it breeds. It differs from that species in its breast pattern, stronger supercilium and more rufous crown. It has some similarities to the Long-toed Stint, but is much larger than that tiny stint.

Little is known of the breeding habits of this species, although it nests on the ground, and the male has a display flight.

It breeds in the boggy tundra of northeast Asia and is strongly migratory, wintering in south east Asia and Australasia. It occurs as a rare autumn migrant to North America, but in western Europe only as a very rare vagrant.

These birds forage on grasslands and mudflats, like the Pectoral Sandpiper, picking up food by sight, sometimes by probing. They mainly eat insects and other invertebrates.

In flight, white sides to dark centre of rump; thin wing stripe.

Calls, when flushed, a quick ‘pliep’, and rapid, high, scratchy, squeaky trills like the highest of fairy-wren trills. Also has chatterings with intermixed soft, low and high squeaky sounds like the chatter of Welcome Swallows.

Most alike is the Pectoral Sandpiper, but that species has slimmer look, longer neck, shorter legs, more upright stance and longer, more slender,
down curved bill.

Abundant in SE Australia, common elsewhere.

More recently, a review of new data has indicated that this bird should perhaps better be placed into the genus Philomachus - as P. acuminatus - which now contains only the Ruff but if the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is merged into it would need to accommodate the Broad-billed Sandpiper also.

 I hope you enjoyed this Australian bird and if you are interested in seeing more Australian birds, look in labels in the right hand column under 'Australian Birds'.

I have a short video which can be accessed at

If there is a black space below, click it and the video will appear.

Thank you for the the comment you left yesterday on any of my blogs as I said  before, I have a friend staying with me and I will not have to same time  to look at many blogs however I do hope to keep posting for you.

I am linking with WIld Bird Wednesday

Thank you for visiting.


  1. beautiful bird; I don't think I've seen it for myself yet ...

  2. Beautiful photos with some very nice reflections. Enjoy your time with your friend!

  3. He's Lovely!!

  4. These are great! I love that top shot.

  5. That's a smart looking bird Margaret, I love those warm brown colours. A very interesting post, lovely pictures from down under and lots of info...[;o)

  6. What a fascinating species, I can see the "ruff" in this wader but also the pectoral sandpiper, great images.

  7. This is a different bird. It is a beauty.

  8. handsome mix of colors and feather patterns.

  9. The feather patterns are really nice looking!

    Mersad Donko Photography

  10. A gorgeous bird - and aptly named.

  11. Well, I hadn't thought about it, but I guess there are many kinds of sandpipers. You always get the best reflections! And I see that he is extremely well camouflaged!

  12. What a wonderful bird. Love your photos with the reflections...

  13. Such beautiful detail in the feather patterns! Very nice photos.

  14. Hi Carole, Linda. Mary, Ginny Trevor, Mersad, EC, Tex, Adrian, Douglas, Judy, The Sunrise and Gunilla


    Eileen (friend from I.O.W) are off birding or the day. .MARGARET

  15. Your information is so complete and your pictures demonstrate what you say. I learned from you today ... something I try to do every day. This little Sharp Tailed Piper is richly colored and beautiful. Thank you

    Andrea @ From The Sol