Common Sandpiper

Actitis hypoleucos

What do they look like?

The common sandpiper is a small bird with greenish-brown colouring on its back. Unlike the purple sandpiper, this bird has a distinct white belly, absent of dark streaks below its neck and chest. Their bills are dark and straight, and they have greenish-yellow legs. When in flight, white bars are visible along the length of its wings. Common sandpipers are said to ‘teeter’, as they bob up and down when they are standing.

When can I see them in Scotland?

In the summer months when it breeds and also on passage in spring and autumn.

Where can I see them in Scotland?

Common sandpipers prefer freshwater sources such as rivers, lakes, lochs and reservoirs. However, they can sometimes be found near rocky shores, especially during spring and autumn migration.

Conservation status

In the UK, bird species with breeding, passage or wintering populations are assessed by experts and assigned to Red, Amber or Green lists of conservation concern. Common sandpipers are currently an ‘Amber’ listed species.

21-22 days
22-28 days
8 years
Average Lifespan

A common sandpiper viewed side-on
© Erni, Shutterstock