Bird Watching (UK) - - July Id Challenge -

One of the fun­da­men­tals of bird­watch­ing (and the sort of thing we eas­ily for­get) is that dif­fer­ent waders have dif­fer­ent lengths and shapes of bill, ac­cord­ing to what they eat. Part of the rea­son that the dif­fer­ent species of wader can live along­side each other with­out too much con­flict is that they have adapted to sub­tly dif­fer­ent niches. And these niches are re­flected in their bills. At one ex­treme is the Curlew , with its very long down­curved bill, de­signed for prob­ing to great depths for mol­luscs and worms. And at the other are the tiny bills of the small sand­pipers, such as the Lit­tle Stint, which can only pick food from rel­a­tively near the sur­face. Then there are the sea­weed-flick­ing chis­els of Turn­stones, the thrush-like bill of plovers (for largely pick­ing over the sur­face) and the up­turned, fine bill of the Avo­cet, used for pick­ing fine morsels from the wa­ter col­umn. Get to grips with wader bills and you are half­way to get­ting to grips with wader iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. Turn­stones use their pe­gor chisel-like bills to flip over stones and weed to look for in­ver­te­brate morsels

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