Animals -> Birds -> Shorebirds


The diversity and similarity of shorebirds, together with the tendency for multiple species to be overlap at the same location and even within the same flock, means that shorebirds were not always well differentiated from each other within the ethnographic literature. For example, many long-billed shore birds were reported to be referred to as snipe by Yukon cultures [1]. Shorebirds of unspecified species are reported to have been eaten by the Tlingit and Micmac (Mi'kmaq) [2, 3]. Inuit were reported to hunt shorebirds in spring and summer [4, 5]. Shorebirds were hunted with bows and arrows, snare traps and clubs [6]. The Micmac prepared shorebirds by plucking and roasting them above a fire [7]. The following shorebirds were, however, differentiated in at least some of the literature.


1.         McClellan C: My Old People Say: An Ethnographic Survey of Southern Yukon Territory-Part 1. Ottawa: National Musems of Canada; 1975.

2.         Hara HS: The Hare Indians and Their World. In. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada; 1980: 95-147.

3.         de Laguna F: The Story of a Tlingit Community: A Problem in the Relationship between Archeological, Ethnological, and Historical Methods. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office; 1960.

4.         Vanstone JW, Oswalt W: The Caribou Eskimos of Eskimo Point. Ottawa: Northern Co-ordination and Research Centre, Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources; 1959.

5.         Weaver B: Canadian Inuit Food and Foodways. In.; 1992.

6.         Speck FG, Dexter RW: Utilization of animals and plants by the Micmac Indians of New Brunswick. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 1951, 41(8):250-259.

7.         Stoddard NB: Micmac Foods, vol. re-printed from the Journal of Education February 1966. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Halifax Natural Science Museum; 1970.

Shorebirds include gulls, terns and jaegers, all of which have a long, narrow, often hooked bill, long pointed wings, webbed feet, and a large relatively slender body with a mainly black, gray, and white plumage. They are often seen flying or soaring above the water, feeding along shorelines, or floating on water [1]. Shorebirds also include a very diverse group of closely related and often similar-looking species, referred to as plovers, sandpipers, snipes, phalaropes, among other names. In general, these shorebirds have long legs and a long, fine bill, which they use to wade in shallow water and probe the bottom for invertebrate prey, and have an overall brownish, mottled appearance [2].


1.         Harrison CJO: Bird families of the world. Oxford, England: Elsevier-Phaidon; 1978.

2.         Morrisson RIG: Shorebirds. In.: Minister of the Environment, Canadian Wildlife Service; 2001.