Shorebirds | Charadriiformes
Shorebirds are birds classified under order Charadriiformes usually inhabiting wetland areas of both freshwater and saltwater. This is where they spend most of their time and life whether it is for food, breeding, or nesting. Since they can be found in all the seven continents, they differ largely in physical attributes with different shorebirds having unique body shapes, body length, and leg length. Most Charadriiformes migrate from one region to another. Additionally, they are normally found in large flocks either during the cold seasons or breeding. These birds feed on invertebrates and plant materials like algae. Even though the Charadriiformes are wild birds, they are usually hunted for their meat, oil, eggs, and feathers.
Shorebirds typically live in a variety of environments that include the coastal, saline, and freshwater wetlands, as well as flooded agricultural fields. Other environments in which shorebirds live include interior grasslands and the arctic tundra. Shorebirds are known for being migrators and are capable of traveling thousands of miles.
Generally, shorebirds eat a range of aquatic insects including water boatmen, backswimmers, giant water bugs, crane flies, and water beetles. Shorebirds also eat crustaceans and other aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates like grasshoppers and earthworms and fishes like smelt or dace. Shorebirds also consume reptiles, amphibians, and plants like grasses and wild berries.
Shorebirds help the ecosystem by taking the role of being a predator of invertebrates and small vertebrates helping regulate the aquatic, benthic, and infaunal communities. Shorebirds also help the ecosystem by taking the role of cycling as well as transporting nutrients from foraging grounds to roosting and nesting localities.