Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Common Sandpiper, Chania, Crete, November 2002 - click for larger image

The Common Sandpiper breeds throughout most of Europe and much of central and northern Asia. It is mainly migratory and most European birds fly south to southern Africa in July returning to their breeding grounds in April and May.

Some birds, such as the one in the photo 1 in Crete in November, winter in western Europe and around the Mediterranean. Photo 6 was taken in Abu Dhabi in March.

Common Sandpiper, Mull, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image It is brown above with a distinctive white gap between the wings and the breast. It has a long tail and fairly short, greenish-grey legs.

It normally looks crouched and often bobs the rear of its body up and down. Its flight is distinctive with shallow, rapid beats interrupted by short glides on stiff, downward bent wings. These show a conspicuous white wing bar.

Common Sandpiper surrounded by gnats, Mull, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image It breeds near fresh water in clear lakes or rivers but outside the breeding season also visits standing water, ditches, pools, coastal lagoons, rocky shores and harbours (as in photo 1)

It is mainly solitary and feeds largely on insects which it normally picks from the ground rather than probing the ground like many other waders. This 3rd photo shows a bird in woodland surrounded by gnats on which it seemed to be feeding.

Common Sandpiper, Mull, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
Common Sandpiper, Mull, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
Common Sandpiper, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, March 2010 - click for larger image
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