Since childhood, many have heard the following saying: “Each sandpiper praises his swamp”, but not everyone knows whether the sandpiper really lives in the swamp, what he looks like, what he eats, what his morals and habits are. Let's try to understand all the life features of this feathered creature, having studied in more detail its bird lifestyle.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Kulik

Photo: Kulik

can be called the largest among other orders, which include aquatic and semi-aquatic birds. They are widely settled in different parts of our planet and outwardly look quite diverse, differing in habits and disposition.

Such a diverse order includes several bird families at once, among which are: >

  • Colored snipe;
  • Avocet;
  • Tirkus;
  • Sicklebill;
  • Yakan.
  • Now ornithologists are increasingly inclined to believe that all waders are divided into two groups of birds. The first group includes avocets, plovers and oystercatchers, they are considered relatives of terns and gulls. The second group includes snipes, jakans and colored snipes, which are classified as a separate evolutionary branch. For a more complete picture of these winged birds, we will briefly describe some varieties of shorebirds.

    Plovers are medium in size, their head is quite miniature, the beak is short and straight. The limbs are also short, but the wings and tail are quite long. The wingspan reaches 45 cm, and the weight of the bird varies from 30 to 70 grams. Snails are long-legged feathered individuals, which also have an elongated beak, bent upwards. These birds are available in both large and medium sizes. The average weight is about two hundred grams.

    Video: Kulik

    Curlews are very large-sized, the mass of these mature birds ranges from 500 to 1200 grams. They have a long beak, curved down. A single white stripe is clearly visible on their dark tail. Winged live in the territories of marshy lands and in river floodplains, overgrown with squat grass. Turukhtan is the owner of a bright and extravagant attire, in the colors of which there are golden, black, bluish, green tones shimmering with a metallic sheen. It is difficult to find a pair of identically colored males, all are so diverse.

    Godwitches are quite large, their weight can reach up to 270 grams. Birds are distinguished by a straight beak and extended limbs. The predominant tone of the plumage is red. Most often found in coastal meadows, where they settle in a few colonies. Snipes are of medium size, their body length ranges from 25 to 27 cm, and their weight is from 80 to 170 grams. Sandpipers are very similar to sparrows, they are miniature and graceful. Small birds have chosen the tundra, where they look for food in the soil covered with silt. Birds are most active at dusk. Plovers are distinguished by a short beak and long legs, these birds are medium in size.

    Appearance and Features

    Photo: What a sandpiper looks like

    Photo: What a sandpiper looks like

    As already mentioned, the dimensions of waders are very diverse, the length of their body can vary from 14 to 62 cm, and they can weigh from 30 to 1200 grams. The fact that the majority of waders belong to semiaquatic birds also affects their external characteristics. Waders are quite slender, have elongated wings, pointed towards the end. Some birds are owners of short limbs, these include plover, snipe and lapwing. Others are long-legged avian species (curlews and godwit), and stilts have excessively long limbs. The feet are equipped with three or four toes, the fourth of which is underdeveloped.

    An interesting fact: The length of the limbs of a stilt can be comparable to the dimensions of the body. Its limbs are up to 20 cm long, and the largest body size can be 40 cm, although many specimens are much smaller. colored snipes and webbed sandpipers can be counted. In waterfowl, leathery scallops protrude from the side of the fingers. The tarsus of these birds is not covered with plumage.

    The limbs of waders can be of the following colors:

    • grey;
    • yellow;
    • black;
    • greenish;
    • red.

    The beaks of different waders also differ, it all depends on the food that the birds get. Birds have thin and elongated, straight and curved, both downward and upward beaks. There are specimens whose beak is not long, outwardly similar to a pigeon. There are birds in this genus and beaks that expand towards the end (shovel, tirkusha, white plover). Due to the many receptors, the beaks are very sensitive, but also strong enough, therefore they can crack even hard crustacean shells, move stones that interfere with the extraction of food.

    Interesting fact: The oystercatcher has a very original beak , which is bent sideways.

    In the plumage of most waders, you can hardly see bright and juicy shades, calm tones prevail: gray, white, reddish. Males and females are very similar in color.

    But there are also extravagant specimens with juicy contrasting plumage, among them are: li>

  • Avocet;
  • Goattails.
  • Twice in a yearly period, waders are subject to molting. The summer process of complete molting is quite long, lasting until winter. At the end of the winter season, there is an incomplete (premarital) molt. In some varieties of waders, there is a significant difference between the colors of winter and summer plumage.

    Where does the shorebird live?

    Photo: Sandpiper

    Photo: Sandpiper

    Waders settled all over the world, bypassing only the Arctic, but they can be found on islands located in the Arctic Ocean, in the desert territories of Central Asia, in the Pamir mountain ranges. First of all, shorebirds take a fancy to the coastal zones of lakes and rivers, and settle in wetlands. There are purely forest varieties of these birds, among which we can mention the woodcock and blackie. There are species of birds for which water sources in the place of settlement are not so significant; they also feel great in the desert. Such birds winter in India, on the Australian and African continents, in South Asia.

    To equip their nests, waders can choose different areas with completely opposite landscapes, it can be impenetrable tundra, open spaces of the steppes, grain fields, shores of various reservoirs and sandbanks.

    As for our country, waders can be found in almost all of its regions and regions. Waders settled from the southern outskirts to the northern zones bordering the Arctic. In the territories of the Far East, you can see small pivers, lapwings, woodcocks. Primorsky Krai is chosen by godwit, handrails. Ussuri pivers live near mountain rivers. Sea coastal zones are to the liking of Japanese snipes and sea plovers. In the Amur basin live snails, common snipe, fifi, long-toed sandpipers. Do not be surprised at the diverse habitats of birds, because there are a huge number of varieties in the suborder of waders.

    Now you know where the sandpiper is found. Let's see what she eats.

    What does the sandpiper eat?

    Photo: Black Sandpiper

    Photo: Black Sandpiper

    The diet of waders is varied, as is their species composition. It should not be forgotten that, for the most part, they live near water bodies, so their diet is associated with living creatures living there.

    Wanderers enjoy snacking on:

    • shellfish; li>
    • various crustaceans;
    • worms;
    • all kinds of insects;
    • larvae;
    • small fish.

    The sandpiper can get its food both from the surface of the soil layer and from the inside; for this, most species have extended beaks that can cope with strong shells and shells. Large varieties of waders enjoy eating frogs, lizards, even mice.

    Interesting fact: Locust is a favorite dish on the menu of many waders, its absorption occurs on the fly and in large quantities.


    Among the waders, you can also meet vegetarians, there are only five such varieties. Feathered birds feed on grains, seeds of various herbs, berries, they are very happy with blueberries, which they adore. Waterfowl have excellent fishing skills, they dive very dexterously to catch tasty fish, which they prefer to all other types of food. There are many different dishes on the waders' menu, but in times of famine and hardship, even a predatory oystercatcher will be incredibly happy with the found grain.

    Peculiarities of character and lifestyle

    Photo: Sandpiper in flight

    Photo: Sandpiper in flight

    Waders are socially organized birds that form entire colonies. Before flying to warmer climes, they gather in flocks, which can number several thousand birds. Among them there are sedentary and nomadic birds, but most of them should still be attributed to migratory ones. It all depends on the area where one or another species lives. Waders migrate over very impressive distances, soaring up to a height of more than 6 km. Siberian birds rush to spend the winter on the Australian mainland and New Zealand. From Alaska, waders fly to Argentina. Waders hibernate in African expanses, in Asia and India.

    Interesting fact: During the flight, waders are able to cover about 11 thousand kilometers without a single stop, they are not afraid of either deserts or mountain ranges , not huge open water spaces.

    There are waders that are active during the day, there are birds that prefer twilight activity. Almost all waders are excellent runners, flyers and swimmers. Some species have a talent for diving. Waders have excellent eyesight and sensitive hearing. Bird lovers assure that waders are perfectly tamed, quickly adapt to a new environment, easily make contact with a person and enjoy eating homemade food.

    Interesting fact: In the human environment, shorebirds have earned respect due to the fact that they eat crop-damaging locusts on a huge scale, and also like to snack on annoying blood-sucking mosquitoes.

    Social structure and reproduction

    Photo: Sandpiper in the water

    Photo: Sandpiper in water

    Sandpipers become sexually mature at the age of two. The wedding season most often falls on April. Some birds prefer a flock existence, others live in separate pairs. Talking can be heard, both joint and single. Maneuvers for impressing the opposite sex differ between species.

    Sea plovers are characterized by fast flights, accompanied by a trill, then they move on to ground pursuit of females, opening their tail like a fan. Lapwings lure females when they soar steeply up, and then dive down, oscillating in flight in different directions. Small plovers make wide circles in flight, and, descending to the ground, rush after the feathered ladies. Far Eastern curlews are attracted by soaring to a height of forty meters, where they fly in semicircles, singing sonorous and melodic songs.

    There are various types of marital relationships among waders:

    • polygamy – the male has relationships with several females at once and after intercourse does not participate in their later life;
    • monogamy is considered the most common form of relationship between waders, when a strong pair is formed, and both parents take care of the offspring;
    • li>
    • double nesting is distinguished by the fact that the female lays eggs in a pair of nests at once, on one of which the partner is incubating. Each parent takes care of the brood from their nest;
    • polyandry is characterized by the fact that the female has several partners at once, she lays her eggs in various nesting sites, where males incubate them;
    • waders choose earthen depressions that are not lined with anything as a place for their nesting. For some, it is common to occupy alien, empty, tree nests. Usually there are four eggs in the clutch, which are pear-shaped and have a greenish tone with specks. Chicks are born covered with thick fluff, they immediately see perfectly and are able to get their own food, but their parents still take care, warming the little ones, protecting them from ill-wishers, exploring places rich in food with them. In oystercatchers, parents treat the chicks, bringing them food directly to the nesting place. It is worth noting that in natural conditions, waders can live for about 20 years.

    Wandspiper's natural enemies

    Photo: Sandpiper

    Photo: Sandpiper

    Sandpipers have more than enough enemies in harsh natural conditions. The main threat is represented by various raptors, for example, falcons. The waders begin to panic when they notice the approaching falcon. Often they try to hide in the water by diving deeper. This tactic is very effective. Where it is very shallow, they practically cannot hide from the falcon, the birds continue to run away, uttering plaintive cries, but the noble predator, most often, prevails.

    Martens, wolverines, arctic foxes, and ravens can be counted among the enemies of waders , buzzards. Most often they attack inexperienced young and small chicks. Birds like skuas like wader eggs, which they often steal from their nests.

    Interesting fact: Sandpipers are very brave and always stand up for their chicks. While grazing sheep, waders have been observed attacking them when they come close to the nesting site. Bird attacks were so zealous and energetic that the sheep got scared and ran away from the angry birds.

    The enemies of birds can also be considered people who invade the territories occupied by birds and displace them from familiar and familiar places of settlement. Waders have very tasty chicken-like meat, so some species are hunted (for example, woodcock). Man causes damage to many representatives of the fauna, including waders, when he pollutes the environment and conducts his vigorous economic activity.

    Population and species status

    Photo: What a sandpiper looks like

    Photo: What a sandpiper looks like

    There are various data regarding the number of species of Charadriiformes. According to some sources, there are 181 species, according to others – 214 varieties. Due to such a large number of species diversity, waders are widely settled throughout the world, occupying a rather extensive habitat. Only in our country, scientists have counted 94 varieties of shorebirds.

    Despite the fact that there are quite a lot of species, the population of almost all varieties is steadily declining, and some waders are generally endangered. No matter how bitter it is to understand, but the main reason for such a situation with an ever-decreasing bird population is people. Man conducts his tireless economic activity, which destroys natural biotopes where birds constantly live

    The coastal sea zones of Asia are dangerous for migratory birds. Here, for their own needs, people drain vast territories where birds are used to living, this leads them to death, because. makes it impossible to reproduce offspring. Drying of wetlands, pollution of various water bodies and the entire environment as a whole harm the bird population, relentlessly reducing its numbers. All this suggests that waders need special protection measures, which people are trying to take.

    Protecting waders

    Photo: Kulik iz Krasnaya books

    Photo: Sandpiper from the Red Book

    As already noted, the population of waders is gradually declining, and some species are even threatened with extinction . The lapwing and slender-billed curlew may completely disappear from the face of our planet, which cannot but worry, therefore many varieties of waders are listed in the state Red Books. Scientists note that recently the number of oystercatcher and steppe pickaxe has greatly decreased.

    The red lists of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature include seven varieties of rachids, which include:

    • shovels;
    • grey lapwings;
    • Okhotsk snails;
    • Ussuri plover;
    • Asian snipes;
    • Japanese snipes;
    • Far Eastern curlews.

    As for our country, there are already eleven varieties of waders in its Red Book. Stilts, oystercatchers, avocets, and yellowthroats are added to those listed above. The Red Book of Primorsky Krai contains fourteen species, i.e. Three more species are included in the eleven Red Book species of the Russian Federation: the marshmallow, the baby curlew, the mountain snipe.

    It has already been mentioned that selfish human actions, directed only in favor people and not caring about the representatives of the animal kingdom. Biologists believe that waders should be bred in artificial conditions, and then the birds should be released into the wild. But many experts in this field consider it very difficult and ineffective.

    Kulik — amazing bird. It is not in vain that the saying mentioned at the very beginning is composed about them, these unusual birds, indeed, often choose wetlands. A large species diversity does not let you get bored when studying waders, and their different lifestyles and customs surprise and cause genuine interest.

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