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19â€“23 cm (7Â½-9 in)
The Wood Sandpiper is a fairly small wader with a rather attenuated 'necky' appearance. It has brown upperparts and generally white underparts. The most striking plumage feature are the bold white supercilia, which show well behind the eye. The supercilia are defined by a dark brown 'cap' and a bold broad eye-stripe. It is quite a 'leggy' bird, not unlike a Common Redshank, though smaller. The legs are usually pale yellowish, but can appear quite dark when the bird is feeding in mud, or in dull light. The bill is about the same length as the head and straight. The head shape is almost squarish in profile, and the neck can be extended or retracted a certain amount, changing the overall appearance. The rump has a square white patch between the dark tip of the tail and the back.
Wood sandpiper tends to be a rather active bird, often found on the margins of quite small pools, or wading hurriedly through the shallows. It often teeters in the manner of a Common Sandpiper, though perhaps not quite so frequently. As it advances it pecks briefly to one side or the other, picking up tiny particles of food from the surface of the mud.