Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)


[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Actitis hypoleucos | [UK] Sandpiper | [FR] Chevalier guignette | [DE] Fluss-Uferlaufer | [ES] Andarrios Chico | [NL] Oeverloper


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range

Physical charateristics

Small, short legged sandpiper, with pale eye-ring. Greenish brown upperparts, white underparts with dark lateral breast patches. Dark brown streaks and marks on upperparts.
In flight, shows dark rump and white wingbar.
Female averages slightly larger than male. Non-breeding adult has faintly barred olive brown upperparts. Less streaking on head.

Listen to the sound of Sandpiper


Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 32 cm wingspan max.: 35 cm
size min.: 18 cm size max.: 21 cm
incubation min.: 21 days incubation max.: 22 days
fledging min.: 26 days fledging max.: 22 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 4  


Eurasia : widespread


Usually on margins of water bodies, mostly riverbanks, preferably with pebbles, sand or rocks amd patches of dry meadows. Also small ponds, lake shores, sheltered sea coasts.
Outside breeding season, in wide variety of habitats, such as coastal shores, estuaries, salt marshes, inland wetlands, riverbanks and tidal creeks in mangroves.
Sometimes on grassland, along roadsides in urbanized areas.


Egg laying in May-June. Pairs bond monogamous. High degree of site fidelity and low degree of natal philopatry. Nest is built in sheltered depression, sometimes among shrubs and trees. 4 eggs are laid, incubation 21 days, by both sexes.
Chicks are greyish brown, above faintly stippled dusky and with fuscous black mid-line on crown and back, and narrow eyeline. Brood tended by both sexes, but one parent, often female, usually leaves before young fledge. Age of first breeding 1 year.

Feeding habits

Diet includes insects, crustaceans, molluscs, spiders and annelids, sometimes tadpoles, frogs and small fish. Occasionally plant material.
During breeding season, adults and young chicks frequently feed on grassland.
Prey located visually. Feeds mainly by pecking and stabbing, free stalking and dashing, rarely by probing. Run quickly, frequently pausing with tail moving up and down and head bobbing.
Insects often caught from surface, or pulled out from rocks or mud, sometimes washes prey before eating it. Mostly forages singly, defending feeding territory, but sometimes in small parties. Mainly diurnal forager.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Sandpiper status Least Concern


Migratory. Many move to South to wintering areas, though some stay in North maritime climatic zone (British Is, Mediterranean, Japan). Moves overland on broad fronts, even across deserts and mountains, usually solitary or in small flocks. European population mainly winter in West Africa, and basically moves South West from mid-July to August. Juveniles following one month later. Moves North from late March to April .Many Norwegian birds cross Britain, Swedish birds cross West Germany, Finnish cross East Germany. Wintering populations in East, Central and South Africa presumably originate in former USSR. East Asian birds move through Korea, Japan (especially during migration), Hong Kong (both migrations), peninsular Malaysia, Wallacea and New Guinea. Many immatures remain in Northern wintering quarters all year. Migrates at night.

Distribution map

Sandpiper distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *