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American woodcockAmerican woodcockMost shorebirds, also known as waders, live in wetland or in coastal habitats, including beaches, rocky shores, mudflats and lagoons. Jacanas, sandpipers, thick-knees, snipes, avocets, stilts, plovers, oystercatchers and woodcocks are all shorebirds. They have long legs, suitable for walking in shallow water. Their bills are shaped to probe the mud, sand or soil for small invertebrates to eat. Shorebirds have sensitive nerve endings at the tips of their bills enabling them to detect prey below the surface of the water, sand or mud. Many shorebirds migrate to breed in warmer lands.

Comb-crested jacana, or lilytrotterComb-crested jacana, or lilytrotter


Jacanas are found in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. Their toes and claws are so long that the birds’ weight is spread out over a large surface area. This enables them to walk over floating lily pads and other water plants. For their ability to apparently walk on water, they are sometimes known as Jesus birds or lilytrotters. Their diet consists of insects picked from the water’s surface.

The pied avocet is the emblem of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

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