Select Page

Terek Sandpiper

Tringa terek

Terek Sandpiper © 2010 Ian & Jill Brown



Other Names

Eastern Terek Sandpiper, Avocet Sandpiper.


Small-medium grey and white dumpy wader, that has an up-turned bill and bright orange legs..


Non-breeding:   The upperparts are grey, with some fine streaking of black on the mantle and scapulars.  There is a white supercilium.  The underparts are white though there is some fine grey streaks on the breast.  The slightly upturned bill is black with an orange base.  The legs are orange-yellow.
Breeding:  Similar to the non-breeding plumage, but the streaks are more obvious on the scapulars giving the appearance of a black flash.  The legs are bright orange or red.
Juvenile: Similar to the non-breeding adult plumage, but with heavier markings on the upperparts.


Usually is found in the northern half of Australia and is found nearly always on the coast.  It inhabits the mudflats around mangroves, estuaries and intertidal coasts.  It tends to roost in the mangroves as well as the usual high tide roost sites.

Migratory habits

The Terek leaves our shores in March and April heading to its breeding grounds.  It returns in September those that come to Queensland arrive over the Torres Straits and spread down the coast.


The Terek Sandpiper breeds in the low wooded habitat called the taiga.  The breeding range extends from Finland in the east right across Eurasia to Siberia.


It is thought that the Australian population is around 18,000.
East Asian-Australasian Flyway Population:  about 50,000

Confusing Species

Curlew Sandpiper:  Can be confused with the Terek when in full non-breeding plumage because of the grey colouration, but the down curved bill is a diagnostic feature.
Red-necked Stint:  Much smaller in size, but a mistake might arise in a large flock.
Grey-tailed Tattler:  Both species are grey with pale underparts, and there ca be confusion with the leg colour.  However, once again the bill shape of the Terek is a distinctive feature.  The barring on the breast is found only in the Tattler, and the black shoulder flash in the Terek.  The legs are yellow.