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a genus of birds of the family Charadriidae of the suborder Charadriiformes. The body is 12-23 cm long and has long, sharp wings. The bill is straight or slightly decurved. The coloration is dark with mottled markings above and white below. Sometimes the underparts are reddish yellow or black. There are 17 species, distributed mainly in the tundras of Europe, Asia, and North America. Fifteen species are found in the USSR. Most species migrate south for the winter, some traveling as far as the southern tip of Australia, Africa, or South America. The birds build nests on the ground. A clutch contains four eggs, which are incubated by both the male and the female. The birds feed mainly on small invertebrates, which they dig from the top layers of the soil or gather from the ground.