Comparative anatomy of head and neck in the Spoon-billed sandpiper, Eurynorhynchus pygmeus and its allies

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Abstract

Head and neck anatomy is described and compared in the Spoon-billed sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus, the Rufous-necked stint Calidris ruficollis and the Broad-billed sandpiper Limicola falcinellus (Calidritinae). Eurynorhynchus pygmeus closely resembles Calidris ruficollis (typical of the subfamily) in most aspects other than bill form. Information on feeding behaviour is summarized. It is concluded that the expanded bill of Eurynorhynchus pygmeus functions chiefly to increase its capacity for tactile detection of prey. The suggestion of close relationship between Eurynorhynchus pygmeus and Limicola falcinellus is rejected.

Ancillary