Common Sandpipers are easily identified by their habit of "teetering": constantly
bobbing head and tail while on the ground, particularly when feeding.
Their Malay name sounds like their call.
Common Sandpipers appears to be the least specialised and eat a wide
variety of prey: from minute invertebrates to crustacea, worms, insects,
spiders, centipedes. They may even scavenge from food scraps thrown out
by people from boats or waterside activities.
Common Sandpipers feed restlessly and deliberately. They run along
the water's edge, visually locating prey on the surface and not by
probing in the mud. Thus they avoid soft mud and prefer to forage on
rocky coastlines and breakwaters. They may even forage in concrete
drainage ditches, and inland grasslands. They may also dash after prey
that they spot some distance away. They may swim or dive after prey.
Prey is often broken up into smaller bite-sized pieces, e.g., crabs.
Common Sandpipers are abundant but typically feed alone or in pairs,
avoiding areas where other more gregarious species feed. But they roost
in small groups of about 30 and migrate in flocks.
Breeding (April-July): Common Sandpipers breed in northern Eurasia from
the Atlantic across the continent to Central Japan. They usually arrive
at their breeding grounds in pairs. Their breeding song is a repeated
rising kittie-needie. They prefer to nest near water, including stony
and fast flowing rivers, small pools, lakes, sheltered sea coasts. Their
nest is usually a shallow hollow on the ground, lined with leaves and
plant stalks, under overhanging plants. But sometimes in trees or
shrubs, and even on rafts of floating vegetation. 4 yellowish eggs with
dark mottling or spots are laid. The male does most of the incubation.
(21-23 days). As soon as they are dry, the hatchlings disperse away from
the nest to hide among the surrounding vegetation. The male does most of
Migration: Common Sandpipers migrate in small groups (rarely more
than 200) or alone. They migrate well north, across much of the Old
World including Australia, although few reach New Zealand. They are
likely to be among the most numerous visiting waders but this is hard to
confirm because they are widely dispersed in their winter grounds. They
winter in a wide variety of wetlands that offer firm mud, sandy, rocky
or grassy surfaces. These include mangroves, coastal dunes, estuaries,
rivers, ponds, canals, reservoirs, rice fields.
Status and threats: The Common Sandpiper (for now) faces no serious
threats and are the most widespread and adaptable of shorebirds. Perhaps
it is because they can eat a wide range of food.