The Curlew Sandpiper is a small to medium-sized wader with a black down-curved bill. It is a migratory shorebird breeding in Siberia and travelling from Siberia to Australia. The Curlew Sandpiper was once a common visitor during the Australian summer, congregating in large flocks, sometimes comprising thousands of birds, at sheltered intertidal mudflats and the muddy margins of terrestrial wetlands, however, population numbers have declined dramatically over the past few decades.
The Curlew Sandpiper is a small to medium-sized wader (migratory shorebird). It has a long, black bill with a down-curved end and black legs and feet. In its non-breeding plumage, it is grey-brown above, and white below, with a white wing bar and rump visible in flight. In breeding plumage, it is bright reddish-brown below and the wings are barred black. Their average size is 20cm.
Rippling contact call: ‘chirrip, chirrip, chirrip’. Bird call recorded by: Marc Anderson
The Curlew Sandpiper is a summer migrant from north-eastern Siberia and Alaska, found in many Australian coastal sites and may also be seen inland in suitable habitats. It is most common in the far south-east and north-west of Australia. It is also found in Africa, across southern Asia to Indonesia and New Guinea, and in New Zealand.
Coastal, Island, Wetland
The Curlew Sandpiper is mostly found on intertidal mudflats of estuaries, lagoons, and mangroves, as well as beaches, rocky shores and around salt lakes. Its breeding habitat is the lowland tundra of Siberia.
The Curlew Sandpiper congregates during the Australian summer in large flocks, sometimes comprising thousands of birds, at sheltered intertidal mudflats and also at the muddy margins of terrestrial wetlands. They often mix with other species of shorebirds, pecking at invertebrates on the surface of the mud or making shallow probes below its surface, sometimes wading in belly-deep water while probing. Feeding becomes more intense as migration time approaches, with birds fuelling up for their long flight back to their breeding grounds in Siberia. The Curlew Sandpiper is a migratory species from the Northern Hemisphere, moving south to Australia, Africa, the Persian Gulf, India and South-east Asia. It arrives in September and returns in April. Some birds, usually juveniles, overwinter in Australia.
The Curlew Sandpiper feeds on insects and their larvae when breeding. Otherwise, it feeds on small marine invertebrates, especially polychaete worms.
The Curlew Sandpiper breeds in the northern summer in Siberia and Alaska. The female builds the nest, incubates the eggs (usually 3 to 4 eggs) and raises the young alone. The exposed nest is a shallow depression on a ridge in the lowland tundra.
Coastal, Island, Wetland