The curlew sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea Pontoppidan, 1763) is a bird belonging to the Scolopacidae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
C. ferruginea species.
Basionimo is the term:
– Tringa ferrugineus Pontoppidan, 1763.
The terms are synonymous:
– Calidris cooperi (Baird, 1858);
– Calidris ferruginea (Brunnich);
– Calidris testacea (Pallas);
– Erolia ferruginea (Pontoppidan, 1763);
– Scolopax testacea Pallas, 1764;
– Tringa spec Pontoppidan, 1763;
– Tringa subarquata (Guldenstadt).
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The curlew sandpiper is a small, highly migratory wader, which winters mainly in Africa, but also in South and Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand and nests in the Arctic Siberian tundra.
This bird lives throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, as well as in Australia, New Zealand and numerous islands in western Oceania. It is also encountered in western North America, along the coasts of Alaska and Canada. On the other hand, it is sporadic in western South America, the rest of Canada and the United States, Mexico, Greenland, Iceland and the Caribbean.
Calidris ferruginea is a bird with a length of 180-190 mm, a wingspan of 420-460 mm and a weight of 60-70 grams, which does not have sexual dimorphism.
It has a rather long, black beak that is arched downwards and legs that are also long and black.
The plumage changes with the passing of the seasons: in the adult, during the breeding season, the plumage takes on a reddish color, especially on the lower parts and on the head, while the upper parts are a wide range of white, black and reddish spots. In the winter period, however, the color of the plumage becomes dull, taking on greyish tints on the upper parts and light on the lower parts. In addition, in the winter plumage we see (more than in the other seasons) a long eyebrow that ends behind the eye.
The song is a metallic “duritit dirrit”.
Calidris ferruginea is a bird that is present in the breeding grounds between June and the end of August.
Mating is preceded by the behavior of the male who performs an air show during courtship.
The nesting site is identified on the edge of a swamp or marshes or on arid areas of the tundra and the nest is built among the mosses and tufts of grass.
The average brood size is 3.8 eggs which are laid at daily intervals.
The eggs are incubated by the female and hatch after 19-20 days.
The chicks are cared for by the female for 14-16 days.
The reproductive success of this species seems to depend on the population of some lemmas, such as those of western Siberia (Lemmus sibiricus), eastern Siberia (Lemmus paulus) and the Arctic lemming (Dicrostonyx torquatus). In the poor years these mammals are replaced as predators by other mammals such as the arctic fox (Alopes lagopus).
The migration takes place in the periods of April-May and July-September.
Ecological Role –
Calidris ferruginea is a small wader that reproduces in the Siberian Arctic area, from the Yamal peninsula to the Kolyuchin bay.
It is a very gregarious bird that tends to form flocks with other calydrid waders, in particular Calidris alpina. Despite its eastern reproductive range, this species has a regular passage in western Europe, presumably due to the southwestern migratory route and frequenting marine coasts, ponds, marshes and meadows.
It feeds mainly on insects and other small invertebrates which it takes mainly on sight in the soft mud of the marshes and the coast.
From the point of view of the population this bird is in considerable decline.
The counts in South Africa, particularly in the Langebaan Lagoon where they are most numerous, indicate a 40% decline in numbers between 1975 and 2009. A similar trend has been noted in Australia and could be linked to the effects of global warming.
For this reason, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has judged the species “almost threatened”.
Calidris ferruginea belongs to the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of Afro-Eurasian Migratory Waterfowl (AEWA) applies.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– C. Battisti, D. Taffon, F. Giucca, 2008. Atlas of nesting birds, Gangemi Editore, Rome.
– L. Svensson, K. Mullarney, D. Zetterstrom, 1999. Guide to the birds of Europe, North Africa and the Near East, Harper Collins Publisher, UK.