IUCN Red-List: Least Concern
The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is one of our more striking migratory waders. Sporting a tawny crown and lovely golden feathers topside, and a speckly chest and white underside, the medium-sized ‘Sharpie’ is easy to pick out from a flock of stints and Curlew Sandpipers.
Difficulties with species identification arises when they mix with Pectoral Sandpipers, but the former’s legs are olive, while the latter’s are yellow.
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers breed in the Tundra of the high Arctic in Siberia. When they come down to Australia in the non-breeding season, our climate determines where the majority of the flocks will end up. If Australia’s red centre is in flood, Sharpies will stop to forage in our vast, briny inland lakes. If there is no flooding, the flocks will continue to southern coasts, joining Red-necked Stints and Curlew Sandpipers along estuaries and mudflats.
The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper isn’t particularly picky about what it eats, happily scoffing aquatic worms, insects and insect larvae, molluscs, crustaceans and even seeds!
Meet the other shorebirds!
Written by Cathy Cavallo © 2017 Header image: JJ Harrison - firstname.lastname@example.org Map: Amellia Formby Sharp-tailed Sandpiper images: Cathy Cavallo, Bill Betts