email a friend
printable version
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Distribution and population
There is evidence to suggest that the European population (200,000-510,000 pairs, occupying 50-74% of the global breeding range) has declined by up to 30% over ten years (three generations), but this may reflect shifts in breeding populations, populations in Asia are not thought to be declining and wintering populations in Africa appear to be increasing.

Population justification
The global population is estimated to number c.110,000-350,000 individuals (Wetlands International, 2006), while national population estimates include: < c.10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in China; c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Behaviour This species is a full migrant (Hayman et al. 1986, Smit and Piersma 1989, del Hoyo et al. 1996), breeding in the subarctic and arctic zone of Fennoscandia and Siberia (Smit and Piersma 1989). On passage to its wintering grounds the majority of the species travels overland on a broad front, although there is also an important route down the west coast of Europe (Smit and Piersma 1989, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Females begin to moving south in early-June, the males following during July, and juveniles migrating from August to September (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The movements of this species are characterised by long flights between staging areas (such as the Wadden Sea, Dutch delta region, southern Hungary, south-east Greece, central Turkey, the Black and Caspian Seas, central Kazakhstan, Lake Baikal, Chang Lake (Ussuriland), central Yakutia, Sakhalin, Japan and Korea) (del Hoyo et al. 1996), those birds wintering in Sahel and northern savanna zones (e.g. Mali, Nigeria and Chad (Smit and Piersma 1989)) also cross the Sahara (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Arrival in Africa begins in August and peaks in October (Hayman et al. 1986), the species being present throughout the tropics mainly between October and April (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and returning to arctic breeding grounds between late-April and mid-May (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Few birds remain in the tropics during the breeding season, but non-breeders may spend the summer just south of the breeding grounds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species breeds in dispersed pairs and is often seen singly, although it is also common in parties of up to 20 and exceptionally over 100 (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Adults typically moult in large flocks (Hayman et al. 1986) in staging areas in their arctic breeding range before moving to wintering grounds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). This species is both a diurnal and nocturnal feeder (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding During the breeding season this species inhabits lowland and upland (but not montane) regions, in wooded and open tundra (Snow and Perrins 1998), marshes, swampy pine or birch forest near the arctic tree-line, and also more open areas such as heathland and shrub tundra (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding During migration and on its wintering grounds (Flint et al. 1984) this species frequents a variety of freshwater and brackish wetlands such as sewage farms, irrigated rice fields, brackish lagoons, salt-marshes, salt-pans, sheltered muddy coastal shores (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and mudflats (Johnsgard 1981), marshes and marshy lake edges (Johnsgard 1981, Urban et al. 1986), small reservoirs, pools and flooded grasslands (Urban et al. 1986). Diet The species is carnivorous, its diet consisting chiefly of aquatic insects and their larvae (especially swimming beetles and hemipterans), terrestrial flying insects (such as craneflies), small crustaceans, molluscs, polycheate worms, and small fish and amphibians up to 6-7 cm long (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest of this species is a shallow depression (Snow and Perrins 1998) positioned in grass tussocks (del Hoyo et al. 1996), on sphagnum moss (Flint et al. 1984), or in fairly dry areas of forestamongst low vegetation such as dwarf willows (Johnsgard 1981). Nest sites are often selected near dead trees or other suitable look-out perches (Johnsgard 1981). Management information Intensive grazing of grassland (> 1 cow per hectare) was found to attract a higher abundance of this species in Hungary (Baldi et al. 2005).

This species is threatened by habitat loss in its wintering range and on migration: wetland sites in Ghana are being degraded through coastal erosion and developments involving drainage and land reclamation (Ntiamboa-Baidu 1991); and in China and South Korea important migrational staging areas around the coast of the Yellow Sea are being lost through land reclamation and degraded as a result of declining river flows (from water abstraction), increased pollution, unsustainable harvesting of benthic fauna and a reduction in the amount of sediment being carried into the area by the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers (Barter 2002, Barter 2006, Kelin and Qiang 2006).

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Anthes, N. 2004. Long-distance migration timing of Tringa sandpipers adjusted to recent climate change. Bird Study 51: 203-211.

Baldi, A., Batary, B. and Erdos, S. 2005. Effects of grazing intensity on bird assemblages and populations of Hungarian grasslands. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 108: 251-263.

Barter, M. 2002. Shorebirds of the Yellow Sea. Wetlands International, Canberra, Australia.

Barter, M. A. 2006. The Yellow Sea - a vitally important staging region for migratory shorebirds. In: Boere, G.; Galbraith, C., Stroud, D. (ed.), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 663-667. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., and Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Flint, V.E., Boehme, R.L., Kostin, Y.V. and Kuznetsov, A.A. 1984. A field guide to birds of the USSR. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Hayman, P.; Marchant, J.; Prater, A. J. 1986. Shorebirds. Croom Helm, London.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Johnsgard, P. A. 1981. The plovers, sandpipers and snipes of the world. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, U.S.A. and London.

Kelin, C.; Qiang, X. 2006. Conserving migratory shorebirds in the Yellow Sea region. In: Boere, G.; Galbraith, C., Stroud, D. (ed.), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 319. The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, UK.

Ntiamoa-Baidu, Y. 1991. Seasonal changes in the importance of coastal wetlands in Ghana for wading birds. Biological Conservation 57: 139-158.

Smit, C. J.; Piersma, T. 1989. Numbers, midwinter distribution, and migration of wader populations using the East Atlantic flyway. In: Boyd, H.; Pirot, J.-Y. (ed.), Flyways and reserve networks for waterbirds, pp. 24-63. International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau, Slimbridge.

Snow, D.W. and Perrins, C.M. 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Volume 1: Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Urban, E.K., Fry, C.H. and Keith, S. 1986. The Birds of Africa, Volume II. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L. & Symes, A.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Tringa erythropus. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Spotted redshank (Tringa erythropus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author (Pallas, 1764)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 3,720,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment