Common Redshank

Common Redshank

For the plant named Redshank (Persicaria maculosa, formerly Polygonum persicaria), see Redshank (plant).

The Common Redshank or Redshank (Tringa totanus) is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae, the typical waders. It is closest to the small Wood Sandpiper, and also closely related to the Marsh Sandpiper (Pereira & Baker, 2005). These are 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.

This is a widespread breeding bird across Europe and northern Asia. It is a migratory species, wintering on coasts around the Mediterranean, in south Asia, and on the Atlantic coast of Europe from Great Britain southwards.

It is replaced in the Arctic by the Spotted Redshank, which has a longer bill and legs, and is almost entirely black in breeding plumage and very pale in winter.

Redshanks have red legs and bill, and show white up the back and on the wings in flight. They are brown, becoming somewhat lighter-toned in winter.

Redshanks will nest in any wetland, from damp meadows to saltmarsh, often at high densities. They lay 3-5 eggs. These are wary and noisy birds which will alert everything else with their loud piping call. Like most waders, they feed on small invertebrates.

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

References

  • Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • 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

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