Typical waders

Dunlin, a calidrid wader.
Scientific classification

The Scolopacidae are a large family of waders, (known as shorebirds in North America).

The majority of species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.

Many of the smaller species found in coastal habitats, particularly but not exclusively the calidrids, are often named as "Sandpipers", but this term does not have a strict meaning, since the Upland Sandpiper is a grassland species.

This large family is often further subdivided into groups of similar birds. These groups do not necessarily consist of a single genus. The groups are

  • Godwits (4, all genus Limosa)
  • Curlews (8, all genus Numenius)
  • Upland Sandpiper (1 genus Bartramia)
  • Shanks and Tattlers (16)
  • Polynesian sandpipers (2)
  • Turnstones (2, both genus Arenaria)
  • Phalaropes (3, all genus Phalaropus)
  • Woodcocks (6, all genus Scolopax)
  • Snipe (16)
  • Dowitchers (3, all genus Limnodromus)
  • Calidrids and allies (25, of which 20 in genus Calidris )

The taxonomic relationships of the family as a whole are as follows:

In the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy, waders and many other groups are subsumed into a greatly enlarged order Ciconiiformes.

See also list of birds