The shorebirds are a large and diverse group of bird families that include species that live along the water edges of our coasts and lakes. Most shorebirds are migratory, and they tend to be gregarious, forming loose flocks of the same or similar species.
Shorebirds are found in the order Charadriiformes, which also includes the gulls and terns (Larids). The shorebirds are made up of roughly 14 families worldwide. The most familiar shorebird families seen in California are the plovers, oystercatchers, avocets and stilts, and the sandpipers.
The sandpipers (family Scolopacidae) comprise a rather varied family, often segregated into tribes such as the tringines, curlews, godwits, turnstones, calidridines, dowitchers, snipes, woodcocks and phalaropes. California hosts a good sampling of these diverse species.
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