Moult, biometrics, age composition and migration of Terek Sandpipers Xenus cinereus wintering at two sites along the southeast coast of India


48 – 55

1 April 22

Sivananinthaperumal Balachandran, Shalini Jain


Sivananinthaperumal Balachandran
Bombay Natural History Society, Hornbill House Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road, Mumbai 400001, India


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This paper provides information on phenology, biometrics, moult and ringing recoveries of Terek Sandpipers Xenus cinereus staging and wintering at two sites along the southeast coast of India – Mandapam and the Great Vedaranyam Swamp of Point Calimere. The ringing data were collected from 1985 to 2021. Most of the adults completed their primary moult by the end of November, but birds arrived with more advanced moult in 1985–1988 than in 1998–2021. A few first-year birds were observed to renew some outer primaries (three to six) before leaving for the breeding sites. Individual weights varied from 47 to 89 g, and the average wing chord was 132.7 mm in adults and 128.6 mm in first-year birds. Bimodality in the distribution of wing lengths suggests the possible occurrence of two distinct populations, as was previously reported for Southeast Asia. Recaptures of marked birds in subsequent years confirmed both fidelity to the southeast coast of India and exchange between the two study locations. The sighting in the Seychelles of a colour-flagged Terek Sandpiper marked at Point Calimere is the first recovery for this species in the Southern Hemisphere in winter.