The Terek sandpiper is a small migratory Palearctic wader species, the only member of the genus Xenus. It is named after the Terek River which flows into the west of the Caspian Sea, as it was first observed around this area. This bird breeds near water in the taiga from Finland through northern Siberia to the Kolyma River, and migrate south in winter to tropical coasts in east Africa, south Asia and Australia, usually preferring muddy areas. Its long upcurved bill – somewhat reminiscent of an avocet’s, but not as strongly curved – makes it very distinctive. As the scientific specific name implies, this wader has a grey back, face and breast in all plumages; a white supercilium may appear more or less distinct. The belly is whitish and the feet yellow; the bill has a yellowish base, with the rest being black. It feeds in a distinctive and very active way, chasing insects and other mobile prey, and sometimes then running to the water’s edge to wash its catch. This species is classified as least concern by IUCN.
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