Common Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

Actitis hypoleucos

Least Concern

Common Sandpipers are petite and distinctive wading birds, often spotted along the riverbanks and lakeshores across Europe and Asia. Renowned for their characteristic 'teetering' motion and sharp, three-part whistle, these nimble birds are long-distance migrants, making an incredible journey to Africa each winter.

Appearance and Identification

Males and females have similar plumage

Primary Color


Primary Color (juvenile)


Secondary Colors

White, Black

Secondary Colors (female)

Secondary Colors (juvenile)

White, Black

Secondary Colors (seasonal)

Wing Color


Wing Color (juvenile)


Beak Type


Beak Color


Beak Color (juvenile)


Leg Color

Greenish Yellow

Leg Color (juvenile)

Greenish Yellow

Distinctive Markings

Dark upperparts, white underparts. Sexes similar, but females larger

Distinctive Markings (juvenile)

Less pronounced than adults

Tail Description

Short and square

Tail Description (juvenile)

Short and square

Size Metrics

17cm to 21cm


32cm to 36cm


30g to 60g



Click on an image below to see the full-size version

Vocalization and Sounds

Primary Calls

Distinctive three-part whistle

Call Description

Series of short, sharp, high-pitched notes

Alarm Calls

Rapid, high-pitched trills

Behavior and Social Structure

Daily Activities

Active during the day, foraging for food along shores

Social Habits

Mostly solitary, but can form small groups

Territorial Behavior

Defends feeding and nesting territories

Migratory Patterns

Long-distance migration between breeding and wintering grounds

Interaction with Other Species

Generally peaceful, but can be aggressive when defending territory


Primary Diet

Insects, Crustaceans, Worms

Feeding Habits

Probes mud and shallow water with beak to find food

Feeding Times

Throughout the day, peaking at dawn and dusk

Prey Capture Method

Probing and pecking

Diet Variations

Varies with location and season

Special Dietary Needs (if any)

None known


Nesting Location

On the ground, near water

Nest Construction

Shallow scrape lined with plant material

Breeding Season

May to July

Number of clutches (per breeding season)

1 brood

Egg Appearance

Oval, buff-colored with dark spots

Egg Size

Approximately 3cm x 2cm

Clutch Characteristics

3-4 eggs

Incubation Period

Around 21 days

Fledgling Period

Approximately 4 weeks

Parental Care

Both parents incubate eggs and feed chicks

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

Breeds across Europe and Asia, winters in Africa

Habitat Description

Freshwater habitats, including rivers, lakes and marshes

Elevation Range

Sea level to 2000m

Migration Patterns

Long-distance migration between breeding and wintering grounds


Freshwater, Coastal

Climate zones

Temperate, Tropical

Distribution Map

Please note, this range and distribution map is a high-level overview, and doesn't break down into specific regions and areas of the countries.

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