Common & Spotted Sandpipers

By Phil Holland | Whittles Publishing | August 2018 | Paperback | 168 Pages | 12 plates with 60 colour and b/w photos, colour and b/w illustrations and maps, colour tables | ISBN: 9781849953610


The Publisher’s View: This wonderful book describes the fascinating lives of the two most ubiquitous shorebirds in the world. Between them, the Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) and Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia) make use of a large part of the world’s terrestrial habitat and they exhibit many of the exciting features of shorebirds.As the birds arrive on the breeding ground, their displays are spectacular and their sounds are an exciting announcement of springtime. Unusually, the Spotted Sandpiper appears to be the only bird in the world where the female is the territory holder, laying many clutches of eggs, while the male of the Common Sandpiper holds the territory, has one mate, and shares most duties.They stay on the breeding grounds only as long as is essential to reproduce before making a migration southwards to a broad range of non-breeding homes from Central and South America through Africa, India, and eastwards to Australia with vagrants reaching as far as Tristan da Cunha and New Zealand. The Common Sandpiper has also been recorded breeding in East Africa and wintering in Scotland so their flexibility is amazing. The author has spent over 40 years studying the lives of these fantastic birds and provides a mine of information including their breeding behaviour, migrations, distribution, food sources, habitats and their history from 1950 to 36 million years ago. This beautiful book will hopefully stimulate others to watch these worldwide birds more appreciatively and add to our knowledge.

Other Views: This beautiful book describe the fascinating life of the two most popular species of wading birds in the world’ Alauda …is brim-full of photographs, sketches and graphs illustrating the points being made by the author, which make it a more informative read. The author ha crammed 40 years’ experience of studying the live of these birds into a book which will undoubtedly give pleasure and knowledge to most birders’. Wildlife Detective, The blog of Alan Stewart

The Author: Phil Holland has had numerous articles on sandpipers published in ornithological magazines and bulletins.

Fatbirder View:Imagine a PhD thesis re-written to make it accessible and this is what you will find when you open the pages of Common & Spotted Sandpipers. For example, the first fact I came across that was new to me, is that these two species were treated as one for many years but their breeding habits are what first prompted a split… in most of the world Common Sandpipers breeds more or less like most other birds, Males attract a mate, the couple, nest and raise their young. In North America Spotted Sandpiper females mate and lay their eggs then move on to another male and mate, lay eggs and move on again until they have mated with all the local males they can… not unique in their polyandry but so different form their foreign cousins. I don’t pretend to be a big fan or diligent student of species monographs… I’m a birder not an ornithologist, but if I can find such a book fascinating I’m sure that those of you more into the science of birds will revel in this volume!

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