Common Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper  Actitis hypoleucos


  • Actitis : Greek word for “coast-dweller” derived from akte– coast
  • Hypoleucos: Greek word hupo – beneath; leukos-white

Vernacular Names: Hindi: Jalrank, SamanyaBatan, SamanyaTitvari, Sans: Prakhyatjalrank, Kash: Tontkon, Kula kavin, Pun: Retalchaha, Guj: Samanyatutvari, Thuthvari, Nanithuthvari, Mar: Tutwar, SamanyaTutari, Ta: Choothattiullan, Te: Polteulanka/ulanki, Mal: Neerkata, Kan: Maralupeepi, Sinh: Siliwatuwa, Mald: Findon

Distribution in India: Breeds in North West Himalayas and Widespread Winter visitor in India.

Description: Size of 19-21 cm. It is small, short-legged sandpiper, with pale eye-ring; greenish-brown upperparts, white underparts with dark lateral breast patches; dark brown streaks and marks on upperparts; in flight, shows dark rump and white wingbar. The female averages slightly larger than male.Non-breeding adult has faintly barred olive-brown upperparts; less streaking on head.

Habitat: It is found in waterbodies, mostly riverbanks, preferably with pebbles, sand or rocks and patches of dry meadows; also small ponds, lake shores, sheltered sea coasts. It breeds up to 3100 m. After breeding, found in wide variety of habitats, such as coastal shores, estuaries, salt marshes, inland wetlands, riverbanks, pools and tidal creeks in mangroves and rice fields.

Food Habits: It eats insects and their larvae, especially beetles, crustaceans, annelids, molluscs, amphibians and small fish .The prey is located visually. It feeds mainly by pecking and stabbing, free stalking and dashing, rarely by probing; runs quickly, frequently pausing with tail moving up and down and head bobbing; insects often caught from surface, or pulled out from rocks or mud, but sometimes catches low-flying insects; sometimes washes prey before eating it. It forages singly, defending feeding territory, but sometimes in small parties. It is mainly diurnal forager; forming nocturnal roosts occasionally of more than 100 birds.

Breeding Habits: They breed in April-Jun in North West Himalayas and Europe. They are monogamous (espl. the female), male exhibits polygamy. The nest is in sheltered depression, sometimes among shrubs and trees.They lay a clutch of 3–5 eggs, with laying interval of 35-43 hours. The incubation period is 20–23 days. Incubation is done by both sexes, starting with final egg.One parent (typically female) leaves brood before fledging; fledging period is 25–31 days.