Curlew Sandpiper

Calidris ferruginea




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Cream, yellow or olive with brown or black spots.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses and moss.





Curlew Sandpiper: Medium-sized sandpiper; slightly long neck and legs, mottled rufous, white and black upperparts. Head, neck and breast are rich rufous, while vent and undertail coverts are white. Bill is long and slightly decurved. Sexes are similar. Female usually has a longer bill, somewhat paler and a greater amount of white barring on underparts. Winter adult has uniformly gray upperparts, mottled gray breast and white eye-line, and lacks rufous. Juvenile is similar to winter adult but with orange-brown wash and scaled upperparts.

Range and Habitat

Curlew Sandpiper: Breeds in Eurasia, very rarely in coastal areas of northern Alaska and the western Aleutian islands. Rare but regular migrant to the east coast from New England to the Gulf, less common on west coast; spends winters mainly in the Old World. Nests on tundra; in migration stays on estuaries, lagoons, and lakes.

Breeding and Nesting

Curlew Sandpiper: Their breeding habitat is in the tundra in arctic Siberia. The male performs an aerial display during courtship. Four cream, yellow, or olive eggs spotted with brown and black are laid in a ground depression lined with mosses, lichens, and leaves. Eggs are incubated for 21 days by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Curlew Sandpiper: Their diet consists of snails, worms, insects and other small invertebrates such as crustaceans, mollusks and worms, but they will also occasionally feed on seeds and other plant material. They forage by probing the mud rapidly with the bill, usually working away from others. They wade into belly-deep water and probe continuously as they walk quickly across their habitat.


Curlew Sandpiper: Call is a pleasant, liquid "chirrup" or "chirrip" when in flight. Alarm call is "wick-wick-wick." Males sing on breeding grounds.

Similar Species

Curlew Sandpiper: Red Knot is larger, has a shorter bill, and yellow-gray legs and feet.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X