Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

Common Sandpiper is a small, 8" (20cm) bird, with brownish-green upperparts that have faint barring. This travels downwards, over its breast, forming a wedge of white on its 'shoulders' Its underparts are white. It has pale yellow (short) legs and feet. Unlike Green Sandpipers and Wood Sandpipers, the Common Sandpiper's tail projects well beyond its wing tips. During March, when its breeding plumage starts to appear, the feint barring on its upperparts becomes more streaked.

Common Sandpiper are often found at a water's edge, usually alone, feeding in the shallows, bobbing its head and pumping its tail up and down. They prefer to forage in rocky areas, avoiding muddy areas. They run a lot, spotting prey with their eyes and not by feeling with their feet or bills.

The Common Sandpiper eats a wide variety of food, both animal and plant. From tiny invetebrates, insects, centipedes, worms, spiders, molluscs, crustaceans and, on occasion, tadpoles, frogs and toads. They have been noted to dive after small fish, too. Common Sandpipers also eat seeds and other plant material, but prefer animal matter, often breaking larger prey up into smaller, bite-sized pieces.

The Common Sandpiper is a palaeartic migrant, found on the edges of Kenya's sandy beaches & its rivers and lakes between August to March.

Extra Common Sandpiper Facts
The Common Sandpiper's call is a high-pitched series of long "swee ~ swee ~ swee" notes.

Photographed in Kenya's Masai Mara, Nairobi NP & Mfangano Island.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bird, common sandpiper, kenya, sandpiper, wildlife

Common Sandpiper ~ Picturesque

A Common Sandpiper standing amongs rocks on Mfangano Island in Lake Victoria.

Common Sandpiper ~ Eating

A Common Sandpiper wading in a stream in Masai Mara, eating.

Common Sandpiper ~ Running

Common Sandpiper running beside the waters of a dam in Nairobi National Park.

Common Sandpiper ~ showing Feet

A Common Sandpiper, running in grass, with foot raised.