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Common Name : Common Sandpiper     -       Scientific Name : Actitis hypoleucos       -       Other Name : Siliwatuwa (S)

This is a common migrant found throughout the country from the coastal areas to the highest hills. It breeds in subtropical Europe and Asia. During winter, it migrates to southern Asia and Australia. The only other species of this genus is the Spotted Sandpiper Actitis mucularia found in Canada and the United States of America.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Least Concerned” (IUCN Red List) and it is a species protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

This species is common at most water bodies during the migrant season and can be seen picking up small food items such as insects, crustaceans and other invertebrates on the ground or in shallow water. While feeding, every now and then the bird will start bobbing the hind part of its body, which is a characteristic feature of these sandpipers. It is usually seen singly and would chase away others of its species as it maintains a territory during its stay in the wintering grounds.

I have seen the Common Sandpiper at the Horton Plains National Park as well as in the small islands off the coast of the Jaffna Peninsula. It is common in the wet zone and the dry zone alike. This species is a common visitor to the Beira Lake within the city of Colombo.

This is a common species at Wilpattu and can be seen at most small as well as large water bodies in and around the Park.