Skip to Content

Scolopacidae – Sandpipers and Allies

Semipalmated Sandpiper in Washington, USA: Photo by Mason Maron

Welcome to the Scolopacidae guide! This family, commonly known as sandpipers and their relatives, includes a diverse group of wading birds found across the globe. From coastal shorelines to inland wetlands, Scolopacidae species can be seen foraging for food with their distinctive bills in mudflats and marshes. Known for their varied vocalizations and complex migration patterns, these birds are a delight for birdwatchers. Our guides offer insights into the various species within the family, their habitats, and behaviors, helping you get to know these intriguing birds better.

Overview of Scolopacidae

Most sandpipers are adorned in subdued earth tones that blend seamlessly with the simple habitats they inhabit, while their bills are adapted to catch invertebrates in mud and sand using various techniques. Females of certain species may increase their reproductive success by mating with multiple males, leading to polyandry, polygyny, and monogamy within similar-looking congeners. These diverse mating strategies correspond to flexible movement patterns, with some species exhibiting nomadic breeding behavior both within and across seasons. Additionally, some sandpipers undertake some of the longest nonstop migrations of any land bird.