[order] Charadriiformes | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Xenus cinereus | [UK] Terek Sandpiper | [FR] Bargette de Terek | [DE] Terekwasserläufer | [ES] Andarríos de Terek | [IT] Piro piro di Terek | [NL] Terekruiter

Terekruiter determination

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Small Sandpiper with long upcurved bill and short orange to yellow legs. Grey brown upperparts with almost black centers to feathers, particularly distinct on scapulars. Streaked crown, hindneck, cheeks and sides of breast. Broad white trailing edge to wings. Female averages slightly larger. Non-breeding adult plainer, brownish grey above with pale fringes. Some birds have shorter bills, not very obviously upcurved.

On breeding grounds, occupies in lowland valleys, especially on flood plains with alternation of tall grasses and scrub willows. Most typical on northern taiga and forest tundra. Outside breeding season, on tropical coasts, especially open intertidal mud flats and estuaries, also coral reefs, sandy beaches, and coastal swamps and salt pans. Often roosts communally on branches of mangroves.

Xenus cinereus breeds mainly in central and northern Russia, but also patchily in adjacent countries, with Europe accounting for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is relatively small (<81,000 pairs), but was stable between 1970-1990. The species remained stable overall during 1990- 2000, with the stronghold population in Russia fluctuating, but staying broadly stable.

Diet consists mainly of adult and larval midges, as well as seeds. Variety of insects, small molluscs, crustaceans including crabs, spiders and annelid worms. Rapid feeding action, with abrupt changes of direction. Often teeters, pecks at sand or water surface. Chases mobile prey on surface, also uses avocet-like sideways sweeping action. Frequently probes, often washes prey in water's edge. Usually feeds during low tide, but may also feed during high tide.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 160,000-1,200,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Egg laying in May to July, usually in semi colonial. Nest is a shallow depression sparsely lined with grass and debris, in open or short vegetation and close to water. 4 eggs are laid in a single brood, incubation 24 days. Chicks are greyish brown or rusty grey above finely stippled and mottled dusky, with black mid-line across crown and back and white chin, throat and underparts.

Migratory; movement evidently overland in Eurasia, but coastal in southern hemisphere. With main breeding centres in Siberia, largest numbers winter India and Malaysia eastwards but significant minority crosses west Palearctic to winter in Africa. A regular migrant through Russia, with important route between Ural and Volga rivers and birds also passing through Transcaucasia and Ukraine. Only rare visitor or vagrant farther west. Adults begin leaving breeding areas in first half July, juveniles departing mainly in August; autumn exodus from Russia continues into September. Return movement begins Africa in late March and continues through April. Breeding areas reoccupied chiefly in May. Records west of range have increased, with higher proportion spring than autumn; in Britain (where also recorded overwintering), most occur May-June.