Common Sandpipers are easily identified by their habit of "teetering": constantly bobbing head and tail while on the ground, particularly when feeding. Their Malay name sounds like their call.
Common Sandpipers appears to be the least specialised and eat a wide variety of prey: from minute invertebrates to crustacea, worms, insects, spiders, centipedes. They may even scavenge from food scraps thrown out by people from boats or waterside activities.
Common Sandpipers feed restlessly and deliberately. They run along the water's edge, visually locating prey on the surface and not by probing in the mud. Thus they avoid soft mud and prefer to forage on rocky coastlines and breakwaters. They may even forage in concrete drainage ditches, and inland grasslands. They may also dash after prey that they spot some distance away. They may swim or dive after prey. Prey is often broken up into smaller bite-sized pieces, e.g., crabs.
Common Sandpipers are abundant but typically feed alone or in pairs, avoiding areas where other more gregarious species feed. But they roost in small groups of about 30 and migrate in flocks.
Breeding (April-July): Common Sandpipers breed in northern Eurasia from the Atlantic across the continent to Central Japan. They usually arrive at their breeding grounds in pairs. Their breeding song is a repeated rising kittie-needie. They prefer to nest near water, including stony and fast flowing rivers, small pools, lakes, sheltered sea coasts. Their nest is usually a shallow hollow on the ground, lined with leaves and plant stalks, under overhanging plants. But sometimes in trees or shrubs, and even on rafts of floating vegetation. 4 yellowish eggs with dark mottling or spots are laid. The male does most of the incubation. (21-23 days). As soon as they are dry, the hatchlings disperse away from the nest to hide among the surrounding vegetation. The male does most of the rearing.
Migration: Common Sandpipers migrate in small groups (rarely more than 200) or alone. They migrate well north, across much of the Old World including Australia, although few reach New Zealand. They are likely to be among the most numerous visiting waders but this is hard to confirm because they are widely dispersed in their winter grounds. They winter in a wide variety of wetlands that offer firm mud, sandy, rocky or grassy surfaces. These include mangroves, coastal dunes, estuaries, rivers, ponds, canals, reservoirs, rice fields.
Status and threats: The Common Sandpiper (for now) faces no serious threats and are the most widespread and adaptable of shorebirds. Perhaps it is because they can eat a wide range of food.