Learn All About Scolopacidae, A Family Of Birds

The family Scolopacidae belongs to the order Charadriiformes. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. The family Scolopacidae occurs in the order Charadriiformes. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. Their habitat includes all humid and coastal or inland areas, but they also frequent drier areas. Scolopacidae are small to medium-sized waders.

Habitat of Scolopacidae

Their habitat includes all wetlands, coastal or inland, but some species also frequent drier areas. Scolopacidae are small to medium-sized wading birds. This family includes very diverse birds and it is difficult to find them in common. The family is understood to have many variations and it is difficult to find commonalities.

Physical Description

Slugs of the family Scolopacidae have narrow heads and rather long necks. Their legs can be short or long, as well as their beaks, which are usually slender but can be straight, slightly curved downward or upward. Their plumage is usually in shades of gray, brown and beige, but can be much more colorful, especially during the breeding season. Outside this period, most live in larger or smaller groups. Scolopacidae often fly in bands.

Feeding of Scolopacidae

Depending on the species, their diet consists mainly of crustaceans, worms, small fish, mollusks, small invertebrates and insects. This family includes 93 species.

Actitis Hypoleucos

  • Appearance: long-tailed wading bird of the family Scolopacidae, short legs, with a characteristic hunchback posture. Brown upperparts, densely furrowed breast, pure white belly and underparts. Birds in flight exhibit a visible white wing line.
  • Dimensions: length 18 to 20.5 cm, span 32 to 35 cm, weight 41 to 56 grams.
  • Nest: in a shallow hollow in the middle of vegetation, usually well hidden. Upholstered with dry leaves, grass, pine or spruce needles, among others.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid in May, shared by both parents for 21 to 24 days. Chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to feed quickly. They take flight after about 3 weeks.
  • Range: Nearshore niche throughout Finland. Breeding population estimated at 150,000-250,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Nocturnal. Head south in July-August and return in April-May. May migrate alone or in small groups. Winters in southern Europe and Africa.
  • Food: Invertebrates.

Arenaria Interpres

  • Appearance: robust, with short legs and medium size. The plumage of the birds in flight is very noticeable. Wide white stripes are visible on the dark wings. The back also has large white markings, while the tail is black and white. Short wedge-shaped bill typical of the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 21 to 24 cm, wingspan 43 to 49 cm, weight 90 to 130 grams.
  • Nest: in a shallow hollow, usually well hidden among rocks and vegetation, sometimes under juniper. Upholstered with grass stems, lichens and pine and spruce thorns.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid in May, shared by both parents for 22 to 23 days. Hatchlings leave the nest immediately after hatching and learn to feed themselves. They take flight after 19 to 26 days.
  • Distribution: breeds on rocky shores and islands along the Finnish coasts. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 2,500-3,500 pairs.
  • Migration: Nocturnal. Leaves Finland in July-August and returns in May. Winters in West Africa.
  • Food: Invertebrates, sometimes bird eggs.I forage often digging the ground after turning the stones, as the name suggests. (See Article: Streptopelia turtur)

Calidris Alba

  • Appearance: Small wading bird of the family Scolopacidae, a little more robust than the nearby Dunlin, which is the same size. Characteristic white wing bands highlighted by a darker border. Black and rather stout bill. Very light winter plumage.
  • Dimensions: length 18 to 21 cm, wingspan 35 to 39 cm, weight 50 to 60 grams.
  • Nest: in a hollow in sandy soil or gravel, made with leaves and lichens.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid in June, incubated by both parents for 24 to 32 days. Chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, and quickly learn to forage themselves. They know how to fly in about 17 days.
  • Distribution: breeds in the Siberian tundra, and only in Svalbard in Europe. Observed in Finland only as a migratory passage, rarely in spring and more often in autumn.
  • Migration: mostly nocturnal. Fall migration between July and October, spring migration from May to June. Wintering along the west coasts of Africa and Europe, but also around the North Sea.
  • Food: Invertebrates. Feeds on the shores near the waterline, closely following breaking waves.

Alpine Sandpiper

  • Appearance: quite easy to identify in its summer plumage thanks to its black belly. Adults in their winter livery and juveniles resemble small fish, but are larger and have longer bills like all in the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 17 to 21 cm, span 32 to 36 cm, weight 35 to 62 grams.
  • Nest: in a small hole in the ground or mogote in a swamp, made with dry grass and leaves.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid in June, incubated by both parents for 21 to 24 days. Hatchlings leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to feed themselves. They take flight after 18 to 21 days.
  • Distribution: rare breeding along the west coast and open fields of northernmost Finnish Lapland. During migration, it can be observed feeding along muddy shores, on kelp-covered beaches or on the outer islands in large formations that may count hundreds, or even thousands of birds. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 300-600 pairs. The subspecies schintzii is classified as endangered and its numbers in Finland are limited to 50-55 pairs. Measures are being taken to increase numbers, including habitat restoration in the rich coastal grasslands.
  • Migration: day or night. Birds head south between late June and October, returning in April-May (May-June for the nominate race). Winter in western and southern Europe, as well as in Africa.
  • Food: Invertebrates.

Red Knot Calidris Canutus

  • Appearance: Robust, short-legged wading bird with a relatively short, straight bill of the family Scolopacidae. Birds in flight exhibit highly visible white wing stripes. Rump light gray Adult birds have a red underside, while juveniles are more uniformly gray.
  • Dimensions: length 23 to 26 cm, wingspan 47 to 53 cm, weight 98 to 122 grams.
  • Nest: in a shallow hollow in the middle of low tundra vegetation.
  • Breeding: 4 eggs laid in June, incubated by both parents for 21 to 22 days. Chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to feed quickly. They take flight after 18 to 20 days.
  • Distribution: Breeds along the Arctic coast and regularly visits Finland when migrating.
  • Migration: mostly nocturnal. Adults migrate between July and September, juveniles move south later, between mid-August and late September. Birds return north in May and June, most of them crossing Finland in early June. Winter around the North Sea and along the tide-bound coast of western Europe, sometimes in very large formations.
  • Food: In summer, invertebrates and plant parts, especially in winter gastropod mollusks.

Calidris Falcinellus

  • Appearance: looks like a young sandpiper, but smaller and with shorter and lighter legs belonging to the family Scolopacidae. Broad beak, slightly curved at the end. It has a dark band in the middle of the cap and two parallel light tabs.
  • Dimensions: length 15 to 18 cm, wingspan 34 to 37 cm, weight 32 to 34 grams.
  • Nest: In a small hollow in a mud mound, usually well hidden, lined with grass, moss and leaves.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid in June, incubated by both parents for 21 to 22 days. Chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to feed quickly. No information is available on how quickly they learn to fly.
  • Distribution: breeds in the marshes of Finnish Lapland and other northern regions. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 25,000-35,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Nocturnal. Leaves Finland between July and September, returning in late May or early June. Winters in East Africa.
  • Food: Invertebrates. Forages on the ground more slowly than Dunlin. (See Article: Fringillidae)

Calidris maritima

  • Appearance: Small wader, slightly larger, stouter and shorter on legs than Dunlin. Bill similar to Dunlin, legs yellowish gray or brownish yellow. In flight, it is generally darker than Dunlin of the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 19 to 22 cm, wingspan 37 to 42 cm, weight 62 to 85 grams.
  • Nest: in open rocks and tundra in the far north of Lapland, lined with dry willow leaves and parental feathers.
  • Reproduction: Pond 4 eggs in June. Both parents hatch, 21 to 22 days. Juvenile able to fly 21 days after hatching. Hatchlings leave nest immediately after hatching and learn to feed themselves.
  • Distribution: Breeds along coasts, in marshes and in mountainous tundra regions. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 5-20 pairs.
  • Migration: mostly nocturnal. Head south from July to December to return in May. Wintering around the Baltic and North Seas, some birds winter every year on the more distant islands in Finnish waters.
  • Food: Invertebrates.

Calidris Minuta

  • Appearance: distinctly smaller than the nearby Dunlin. Short bill, straight and narrow end. Legs black Face and chest lighter than other sandpipers, with the exception of the slightly larger Silvia’s knight, belonging to the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 14 to 15.5 cm, wingspan 27 to 30 cm, weight 20 to 30 grams.
  • Nest: In a shallow hole on the edge of the sea, lake or stream, lined with straw.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid in June, incubated by both parents for 20 to 21 days. Some females mate with a new male immediately after laying and rear only the first brood. Chicks leave the nest and begin foraging on their own, but there is no information on how quickly they learn to fly.
  • Distribution: niche in tundra regions.Often seen along the coasts and in Finnish wetlands during the migration season, especially in autumn. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 0-5 pairs.
  • Migration: mostly nocturnal. Crosses Finland south in July-October, returning in May-June. Winter in Africa and South Asia.
  • Food: Invertebrates. Finds food by foraging on the beach along sandy and muddy shores.

Calidris Pugnax

  • Appearance: Long-necked, slender-necked wader with a small head and medium-length bill. The male is much larger than the female. In its summer livery, the male has characteristic ruffs and tufts of different colors depending on the individual. The whitish markings on the rump form a V on the birds in flight, belonging to the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length from 31 to 34 cm (male), from 25 to 26 cm (females), ranging from 52 to 60 cm (male), 46 to 50 cm (females), weight 168 to 242 grams (male) from 85 to 126 grams (female).
  • Nest: In a hollow among vegetation, lined with dry grass. Build a roof on the nest using fresh grass.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid from May to June, covered by the female, for 21 to 24 days. Hatchlings leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to feed themselves. They take flight after approximately 23 days.
  • Distribution: niche in marshes and wetlands. Breeding numbers are decreasing in southern and central Finland. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 5,000-8,000 pairs.
  • Migration: males head south in June or July, while females and juveniles migrate later, from July to September. Birds of both sexes return from April to May, after wintering in the Mediterranean and Africa.
  • Diet: small benthic invertebrates and plant matter. (See Article: Capercaillie)

Gallinago gallinago Gallinago

  • Appearance: Small bird with patterned plumage. Its bill is about twice as long as its head. It has indistinct yellow stripes along its back, while its belly is white. Narrow white markings on the edge of the tail, of the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 23 to 28 cm, wingspan 39 to 45 cm, weight 78 to 105 grams.
  • Nest: well hidden in wet swamps, made with straw.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid from the end of April, covered by the female for 18 to 22 days. Hatchlings leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to feed themselves. They take flight after 14 to 19 days.
  • Distribution: Occurs in coastal marshes throughout Finland, but is absent from peatlands. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 80,000-120,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Nocturnal. Leaves Finland from September to November and returns in April-May. Winters in western and southern Europe.
  • Food: Invertebrates.

Limosa Limosa

  • Appearance: Large wading bird, of a size equivalent to the trilling curlew, with a very long right bill. The wings are dark with a broad white band, a black and white tail. The white on the rump does not extend to the back. In their summer livery, adults show a noticeable copper color, while juveniles have a yellowish-brown marbled plumage, of the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 37 to 42 cm, wingspan 63 to 74 cm, weight 160 to 440 grams.
  • Nest: in a deep hollow, lined with oxyria. Reinforce the nest to increase its height if the water level rises.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid in May, shared by both parents for 23 to 24 days. Hatchlings leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to feed themselves.They take flight when they are about one month old.
  • Distribution: First sighted in Finland in 1903. It has become more common since the 1950s. First breeding in Finland observed at Hailuoto near Oulu in 1955. Finnish breeding population estimated at 70-90 pairs. Niche in open meadows and agricultural fields.
  • Migration: Birds leave Finland between early June and October, returning in April-May, after wintering in the Mediterranean or Africa.
  • Food: Invertebrates. (See Article: Horned Woodpecker)

Numenius arquata

  • Appearance: Large wading bird with a long bill regularly bent, except near the base. The head of the curlew shows a uniform color (as compared to the curlew whose head is more striated). Plumage brownish yellow with a darker fine pattern of the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 48 to 57 cm, wingspan 89 to 106 cm, weight 415 to 980 grams. Female larger than male.
  • Nest: in a hole in the ground in a dry field, in a meadow or on a mound in a swamp. Covered with dry grass.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid in April-May, incubated by both parents for 27 to 30 days. Hatchlings leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to feed themselves. They take flight after 40 to 50 days.
  • Distribution: breeds on farmland and marshes in northern Oulu and North Karelia, rarely further north. Does not breed in northern Lapland. Populations have declined in southern Finland. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 35,000-50,000 pairs.
  • Migration: day or night migration. Females may begin migrating from their breeding areas in late May or early June, while males and juveniles head south in July and August.
  • Food: Invertebrates and berries.

Numenius Phaeopus

  • Appearance: A tall member of the family of large and diverse shark species, similar to other curlew species, but smaller, with a shorter beak curved downward only near the tip. It exhibits a dark cap with a light central stripe and dark bands extending from the beak to the eye and beyond, drawing a lighter band over the eye more conspicuously than other curlews in the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 37 to 45 cm, wingspan 78 to 88 cm, weight 305 to 425 grams. Female larger than male.
  • Nest: In a shallow hole in the ground, lined with straw, dead leaves and moss.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid in May, shared by both parents for 21 to 25 days. Juvenile able to fly 40 days after hatching. Chicks leave the nest very early to forage on their own.
  • Distribution: occurs on open ground in the northern and marshy areas of the coniferous forest area in some regions of northern and central Finland. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 30,000-50,000 pairs.
  • Migration: day and night migration. Autumn migration from mid-June to early September. Spring migration from April to May. Winter in West Africa.
  • Food: Invertebrates.

Phalaropus Lobatus

  • Appearance: Small slender wading bird, often seen swimming in water. Very narrow bill Visible pale band, center of rump dark brown. In its summer livery, it has a red motif on the neck, in winter its plumage is very light of the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 17 to 19 cm, wingspan 30 to 34 cm, weight 26 to 43 grams.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid in June, cradled by the male for 18 to 20 days. Hatchlings leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to feed themselves. They take flight after approximately 18 to 20 days. The female abandons the chicks, which are raised by the male. She may mate with another male.
  • Distribution: Breeds in the tundra and altitude marshes of Finnish Lapland, and in small numbers along the coast of the Sea of Bothnia and a separate population in Kvarken Archipelago. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 7,000-9,000 pairs.
  • Migration: mainly at night. Head south in July-August, returning in May-June after wintering in the open waters of the Indian Ocean.
  • Feeding: Small aquatic insects and their larvae, which they take out of the water and settle by moving as they swim.

Scolopax rusticola

  • Appearance: larger and rounder than other similar woodcocks. Reddish brown livery with many pronounced black and white spots. Courtship flights (at dawn and dusk) are low over the treetops, sometimes with double wings of the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 33-38 cm, wingspan 55-65 cm, weight 225-370 grams.
  • Nest: on the ground, in a shallow hollow, usually protected by a small shrub or low branches, lined with leaves and moss.
  • Reproduction: Pond 4 eggs in April-May. Only females breed, 20 to 24 days. Chicks quickly leave the nest to forage on their own. They learn to fly within 10 to 35 days.
  • Distribution: occurs in the humid forests of central and southern Finland, or more rarely in Oulu and Kainuu in the north. Sometimes seen in the northernmost regions of Finland, where a separate population has extended its range northward along the Norwegian coast. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 100,000-150,000 pairs.
  • Migration: nocturnal migrant. Head south in September-November and return in March-April. Sometimes seen in Finland in winter, but winters mainly in western Europe and throughout the Mediterranean.
  • Food: Invertebrates.

Xenus cinereus

  • Appearance: looks like the knight booby, but its long bill is very curved. Top grayish brown. Wings white trailing edge. White background on chest Unusual striations usually visible on neck and breast, of the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 22 to 25 cm, wingspan 57 to 59 cm, weight 60 to 78 grams.
  • Nest: in a shallow hollow in sandy soil, lined with straw, leaves and bark fragments.
  • Breeding: 4 eggs laid in May, shared by both parents for 20 to 21 days. Chicks learn to fly after about 15 days.
  • Distribution: very rare breeder around the shores of the Bay of Bothnia, also sometimes in North Karelia and near Lake Kemijärvi. Its main breeding area extends eastward from the White Sea to the coniferous forest area of Eurasia. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at only 5-10 pairs.
  • Migration: can be seen in Finland from May to early September. Winters in eastern Africa, southern Asia and Australia.
  • Food: Invertebrates.

Tringa Totanus

  • Appearance: medium-sized wading bird. Bill shorter than that of the harlequin horseman. Large white markings on the back edge of the wings. Tail white with narrow black bands in the broad direction. White wedge-shaped rump extends over the posterior part of the back of the family Scolopacidae.
  • Dimensions: length 24 to 27 cm, wingspan 47 to 53 cm, weight 92 to 127 grams.
  • Nest: shallow holes in grassy areas, made with dry grass, with fresh grass stalks forming a protective roof over the nest.
  • Reproduction: 4 eggs laid in May, shared by both parents for 22 to 26 days. Chicks learn to fly after approximately 27 to 35 days.
  • Distribution: breeds in inland wet meadows (only in some places) and in coastal areas. The Finnish breeding population is estimated at 6,000-8,000 pairs.
  • Migration: mainly at night. Leaves Finland from July to August and returns from April to June. Winters in western Europe and Mediterranean countries, as well as in Africa. During migration, may be seen alone or in small groups along low coasts.
  • Food: Invertebrates.