Curlew Sandpiper

Listen to audio

Habitat: 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.