These medium sized waders are 22 centimetres long and weigh only 65 grams.
They are one of the many shorebirds and waders that spend the summer in Australia and return to the Arctic Circle each year to breed.
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, called Sharpies by birdwatchers, migrate to south east Australia from Siberia, via the Yellow Sea, often in the company of other waders.
They make a spectacular sight, circling overhead as large flocks of birds arrive and land on the wetlands.
The birds prefer the grassy edges of shallow inland freshwater wetlands, sewerage farms, mudflats, mangroves, rocky shores and beaches.
In these locations large flocks are commonly seen, foraging on shallow water.
In the Hunter hundreds of birds are often seen on Hexham Swamp, at the Sandspit at Stockton and this year on the wetlands at Chisholm.
Occasionally small numbers of birds are found on the edges of farm dams.
They often forage in small groups and can be overlooked.
Once noticed however, they are found to be a beautifully bird with brown and black patterned feathers and a cream underside and yellowish legs.
They have a white eyebrow and a straight black bill. The top of the head and the neck is often chestnut, especially in young or breeding birds.
Males are fifteen percent larger than females.
Strangely, the sharp tail for which they are named is most noticeable when the bird is handled.
Sharpies feed on aquatic insects and their larvae, worms, molluscs, crustaceans and even seeds.
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers breed in the tundra of the high arctic.
They are polygamous and the male has an elaborate aerial courtship displays attracting and mating with multiple females.
Its nest is a well-hidden shallow hollow on the ground, usually lined with grass and leaves.
The female incubates the eggs and raises the young alone, without any help from the male bird. Chicks leave the nest soon after hatching.
Most of the world population of these lovely waders, winter in SE Australia, which makes them very vulnerable to changes in the environment.
This is also the most densely populated with humans and human development.
These sandpipers have been able to adapt to use wetlands formed by human activities, such as dams.
However, the ongoing management of coastal and inland wetlands in the south east is essential for the survival of the species.