Calidris ferruginea (Curlew sandpiper) 

Krombekstrandloper [Afrikaans]; Krombekstrandloper [Dutch]; Bécasseau cocorli [French]; Sichelstrandläufer [German]; Pilrito-de-bico-comprido [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Charadriiformes > Family: Scolopacidae

Calidris ferruginea (Curlew sandpiper)  Calidris ferruginea (Curlew sandpiper) 
Curlew sandpiper in breeding plumage, West Coast National Park, South Africa.. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©] Curlew sandpiper in breeding plumage, West Coast National Park, South Africa.. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]
Calidris ferruginea (Curlew sandpiper)  Calidris ferruginea (Curlew sandpiper) 
Curlew sandpiper in non-breeding plumage, West Coast National Park, South Africa.. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©] Curlew sandpiper in non-breeding plumage, West Coast National Park, South Africa.. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Curlew sandpiper in non-breeding plumage, West Coast National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Breeds in coastal of Arctic tundra above 70° North, from the Jamal Peninsula, western Siberia to the Bering Strait and north-western Alaska. In the non-breeding season it heads below 20° North, from the Indian Ocean islands to New Zealand and sub-Saharan Africa, from Mauritania to Somalia south to southern Africa. Here it is common in patches across the region, generally preferring coastal estuaries, lagoons, sheltered and open shores with stranded algae and wetlands with muddy fringes.

Distribution of Curlew sandpiper in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

In 1995 10% of its population at Strandfontein Sewage Works, Western Cape due to Botulism (Clostridium botulinum) Type C. It has also been recorded as prey of the following animals:

Movements and migrations

All southern African birds breed in west-central Siberia, with adults arriving in southern Africa from August-November and leaving again in March and April. Juveniles typically arrive about 4 weeks later than the adults and usually stay in the region over winter before joining the next group of migrants back to the breeding grounds. The proportion of juveniles varies greatly according to the population of lemmings (Dicrostonyx torquatus and Lemmus sibiricus) at its Siberian breeding colonies. This is caused by the fact that lemmings are the main prey of Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) and are generally scarce every third year, which causes the foxes to switch to preying on ground-nesting bird's eggs and chicks. In years when lemmings are abundant, juveniles form approximately 12-65% of all Curlew sandpipers in southern Africa but in years when lemmings are scarce this figure drops to just 0.2-11%.

Food 

It mainly eats invertebrates, doing most of its foraging on mudflats, pecking and probing the soft mud in search of food; generally single birds are less successful than foraging flocks. Females are faster and more effective foragers than males but they feed on a smaller diversity of prey. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • invertebrates
    • Ceratonereis erythraeensis (Estuarine nereids)
    • Assiminea globulus (Globular mud snails)
    • Urothoe grimaldii (Burrowing amphipod)
    • Hymenosoma orbiculare (Crown crab)
    • Cleistostoma edwardsii (Sandflat crab)
    • stratiomyid larvae
    • nereid polychaetes
      • Ceratonereis
      • Perinereis
    • Hydrobia (gastropods)
    • insect adults, pupae and larvae
    • Upogebia africana (Estuarine mudprawns)

Threats

Not threatened, in fact it has probably benefited from the creation of dams and salt pans.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

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