Shorebirds

Turnstone / Bezros

Arenaria interpres

Ruddy turnstone

Turnstones breed in the Arctic in the northern hemisphere summer, but migrate to southern coats all over the world during the rest of the year. On Cousin, they can be found year-round on the beaches as well as throughout the plateau, feeding on small invertebrates like worms, crabs and insects.

Whimbrel / Korbizo

Numenius phaeopus

Like the Turnstones, Whimbrels breed in the Siberian Arctic and spend the rest of the year in warmer climates like Seychelles. Easily identified by their long, slightly downward curved beaks, these birds use their beaks to find worms 7-8cm down in the sand or mud at low tide. At high tide, they feed on Ghost crabs further up the beach.

Crab plover / Kavalye

Dromus ardeola

Crab plover

An occasional visitor to the shores of Cousin, this attractive black and white shorebird likes to eat crabs, a feat for which it’s strong black bill is well adapted. During the northern hemisphere summer, Crab plovers return to the Red Sea, where they breed on sandy islands or near coral reefs. Nesting pairs actually dig a long tunnel of at least one metre underground, at the end of which they lay their egg – an amazing feat for such seemingly delicate birds!

Sanderling

Calidris alba

A northern hemisphere winter visitor to Seychelles, the Sanderling is a tiny shorebird with a dark beak and dark legs. Small groups of them can often be seen on Cousin, scurrying up and down the beach to avoid being swamped by waves as they probe the sand for worms and small crustaceans.