It resembles a small elegant Greenshank, with a long fine bill and very long yellowish legs. Like the Greenshank, it is greyish brown in breeding plumage, paler in winter, and has a white wedge up its back that is visible in flight. However, it is more closely related to the Common Redshank and the Wood Sandpiper (Pereira & Baker, 2005). Together, they form a group of smallish shanks which tend to have red or reddish legs, and in breeding plumage are generally a subdued, light brown above with some darker mottling, with a pattern of somewhat diffuse small brownish spots on the breast and neck. The length is 22–26 cm (8.7–10 in), wingspan is 55–59 cm (22–23 in) and weight is 45–120 g (1.6–4.2 oz).
It is a migratory species, with majority of birds wintering in Africa, and India with fewer migrating to Southeast Asia and Australia. They prefer to winter on fresh water wetlands such as swamps and lakes and are usually seen singly or in small groups.
These birds forage by probing in shallow water or on wet mud. They mainly eat insects, and similar small prey.
The Marsh Sandpiper is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
- Hayman, Peter; Marchant, John & Prater, Tony (1986): Shorebirds: an identification guide to the waders of the world. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. ISBN 0-395-60237-8
- Pereira, Sérgio Luiz & Baker, Alan J. (2005): Multiple Gene Evidence for Parallel Evolution and Retention of Ancestral Morphological States in the Shanks (Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae). Condor 107(3): 514–526. DOI: 10.1650/0010-5422(2005)107[0514:MGEFPE]2.0.CO;2 HTML abstract
- Marsh Sandpiper videos, photos & sounds on the Internet Bird Collection
- Marsh Sandpiper - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds.
- Media related to Tringa stagnatilis at Wikimedia Commons
- Data related to Tringa stagnatilis at Wikispecies
- Tringa stagnatilis in the Flickr: Field Guide Birds of the World