Spotted redshank

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Spotted redshank
Tringa erythropus - Laem Pak Bia.jpg
Spotted redshank in non-breeding plumage
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Tringa
Species: T. erythropus
Binomial name
Tringa erythropus
(Pallas, 1764)

The spotted redshank (Tringa erythropus) is a wader (shorebird) in the large bird family Scolopacidae. It breeds across northern Scandinavia and northern Asia and migrates south to the Mediterranean, the southern British Isles, France, tropical Africa, and tropical Asia for the winter. It is an occasional vagrant to Australia and North America.


The spotted redshank was first described by German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas in 1764. It is a monotypic species, with no recognised subspecies.[2] Taxonomically, it forms a close-knit group with several other large Tringa species, with molecular sequencing showing it to be a sister clade to that containing the greater yellowlegs and the common greenshank.[3]


This is a large wader (shorebird), measuring 29–31 cm (11–12 in) long,[nb 1] with a wingspan of 61–67 cm (24–26 in) and a weight ranging from 121 to 205 g (4.3 to 7.2 oz).[5] It is black in breeding plumage, and very pale in winter. It has a red legs and bill, and shows a white oval on the back in flight. Juveniles are grey-brown finely speckled white above, and have pale, finely barred underparts. The call is a creaking whistle teu-it (somewhat similar to the call of a roseate tern), the alarm call a kyip-kyip-kyip.

Habitat and range[edit]

The spotted redshank breeds in the Arctic across much of Eurasia, from Lapland in the west to Chukotskaya in the east.[3]


Food and feeding[edit]

Like most waders, it feeds on small invertebrates.


Spotted redshank - breeding plumage

It nests on open boggy taiga, laying four eggs in a ground scrape. For breeding the bird moults to a black to dark grey with white spots. During breeding plumage the legs also turn a dark grey. See image alongside.

Conservation and threats[edit]

The spotted redshank is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.


  1. ^ By convention, length is measured from the tip of the bill to the tip of the tail on a dead bird (or skin) laid on its back.[4]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Tringa erythropus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ O'Brien, Crossley & Karlson (2006), p. 357.
  3. ^ a b Parkin, David T.; Knox, Alan G. (2010). The Status of Birds in Britain and Ireland. London, UK: Christopher Helm. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-4081-2500-7. 
  4. ^ Cramp, Stanley, eds. (1977). Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: Birds of the Western Palearctic, Volume 1, Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-19-857358-8. 
  5. ^ O'Brien, Crossley & Karlson (2006), p. 254.


  • O'Brien, Michael; Crossley, Richard; Karlson, Kevin (2006). The Shorebird Guide. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-618-43294-9. 
  • Pereira, S. L., & Baker, A. 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

External links[edit]

 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Redshank". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.