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Common Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper
Scanned image of medium format slide 
Australian Museum 
photographer: Unknown Photographer

When feeding, the Common Sandpiper will pause to bob its head and teeter. When disturbed it will fly low preferably over water with down-curved, flicking wings. Sometimes it is called 'Bob'.


The Common Sandpiper is a small sandpiper with a rather long body and short legs. It is grey-brown above and white below, extending up in a pointed shape between the wing and the dark breast band.There is an indistinct white supercilium (eyebrow) and white eye-ring. The bill is dark grey with yellow at the base and the legs vary from greyish-olive to a yellowish-brown. When at rest, the long tail projects well beyond the tips of the wings. This species is also known as the Eurasian Sandpiper or Summer Snipe.


19 cm to 21 cm

Similar Species:

Wood Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper


The Common Sandpiper breeds in Europe and Asia. In Australasia it visits New Guinea and Australia, mainly in the north and west. It is less often seen in New Zealand.


In Australia, the Common Sandpiper is found in coastal or inland wetlands, both saline or fresh. It is found mainly on muddy edges or rocky shores. During the breeding season in the northern hemisphere, it prefers freshwater lakes and shallow rivers.

Feeding and Diet:

The Common Sandpiper hunts by day, eating small molluscs, aquatic and terrestrial insects. It is a very active bird and will follow its prey over rocks and has also been known to swim under water.


A 'tee-tee-tee' call; also a 'tittering' and trailing note call which is heard mainly during breeding.

Breeding Behaviours:

After returning to Eurasia, the female will build the nest alone but both sexes share incubation and care of the young. Common Sandpipers may have more than one brood per year. The nests can vary from an open shallow nest to a complex nest filled with leaves and grass and is often hidden in thick vegetation.
Breeding season: May to August
Clutch size: Three to five
Incubation: 22 days
Time in nest: 28 days

Conservation Status:

LIke many migratory species, the Common Sandpiper faces many threats on the East Asian-Australasian
Flyway, such as loss of feeding grounds and hunting.