Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)

Terek Sandpiper

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Xenus cinereus | [UK] Terek Sandpiper | [FR] Chevalier bargette | [DE] Terek-Wasserlaufer | [ES] Andarrios de Terek | [NL] Terekruiter


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Actitis cinereus
Xenus cinereus EU widespread AF, OR, AU, also Middle East

Physical charateristics

Small Sandpiper with long upcurved bill and short orange to yellow legs. Grey brown upperparts with almost black centers to feathers, particularly distinct on scapulars. Streaked crown, hindneck, cheeks and sides of breast. Broad white trailing edge to wings.
Female averages slightly larger. Non-breeding adult plainer, brownish grey above with pale fringes.
Some birds have shorter bills, not very obviously upcurved.

Listen to the sound of Terek Sandpiper

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/T/Terek Sandpiper.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 46 cm wingspan max.: 48 cm
size min.: 22 cm size max.: 25 cm
incubation min.: 23 days incubation max.: 24 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 24 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : widespread


On breeding grounds, occupies in lowland valleys, especially on flood plains with alternation of tall grasses and scrub willows. Most typical on northern taiga and forest tundra.
Outside breeding season, on tropical coasts, especially open intertidal mud flats and estuaries, also coral reefs, sandy beaches, and coastal swamps and salt pans.
Often roosts communally on branches of mangroves.


Egg laying in May to July, usually in semi colonial. Nest is a shallow depression sparsely lined with grass and debris, in open or short vegetation and close to water. 4 eggs are laid in a single brood, incubation 24 days. Chicks are greyish brown or rusty grey above finely stippled and mottled dusky, with black mid-line across crown and back and white chin, throat and underparts.

Feeding habits

Diet consists mainly of adult and larval midges, as well as seeds. Variety of insects, small molluscs, crustaceans including crabs, spiders and annelid worms.
Rapid feeding action, with abrupt changes of direction. Often teeters, pecks at sand or water surface. Chases mobile prey on surface, also uses avocet-like sideways sweeping action. Frequently probes, often washes prey in water’s edge.
Usually feeds during low tide, but may also feed during high tide.


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). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very 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.
Terek Sandpiper status Least Concern


Migratory; movement evidently overland in Eurasia, but coastal in southern hemisphere. With main breeding centres in Siberia, largest numbers winter India and Malaysia eastwards but significant minority crosses west Palearctic to winter in Africa. A regular migrant through Russia, with important route between Ural and Volga rivers and birds also passing through Transcaucasia and Ukraine. Only rare visitor or vagrant farther west.
Adults begin leaving breeding areas in first half July, juveniles departing mainly in August; autumn exodus from Russia continues into September. Return movement begins Africa in late March and continues through April. Breeding areas reoccupied chiefly in May. Records west of range have increased, with higher proportion spring than autumn; in Britain (where also recorded overwintering), most occur May-June.

Distribution map

Terek Sandpiper distribution range map

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