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Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
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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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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.
Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

Population justification
The global population is estimated to number c.260,000-1,200,000 individuals (Wetlands International, 2006), while national population estimates include: c.100-10,000 breeding pairs, > c.10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in China; c.50-10,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

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

Behaviour This species is a full migrant, travelling overland on a broad front between its breeding grounds in central Asia (Russia and Siberia), and its wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa, southern Asia, Indonesia and Australia (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The main passage to and from Russia is believed to occur east of the Black Sea (Snow and Perrins 1998), with only a few birds crossing Europe (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (during south-west to south-south-west movements into and out of Russia a small proportion of the species regularly crosses Slovakia, Hungary, the Balkans, Italy and the eastern Mediterranean) (Snow and Perrins 1998). In eastern central Asia the species passes through Mongolia; central, north-eastern and coastal China; Korea (on southward migration only), Japan, Myanmar, Malaysia and Sumatra (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species leaves its breeding range between the first half of July and early-September (Snow and Perrins 1998), arriving in its wintering grounds in September (del Hoyo et al. 1996). For those birds wintering in West Africa, the Nile valley in Sudan is commonly used as a stop over site before crossing the Sahara (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species is present in West Africa from September to mid-April (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and departs again between the second half of March and April, passing through central Asia in early-April to early-May, and reoccupying breeding areas again by mid-April to mid-May (Snow and Perrins 1998). Most non-breeders remain in the winter quarters or at intermediate sites during the breeding season (del Hoyo et al. 1996). This species forages singly or in groups of less than 20 (Hockey et al. 2005), although flocks can sometimes exceed 300 (Urban et al. 1986, Hockey et al. 2005). It usually nests solitarily or in loose colonies with pairs spaced less than 10 m apart (Hayman et al. 1986). The species is active both diurnally and nocturnally (independent of moon phases) (Hockey et al. 2005). Habitat Breeding This species inhabits warm inland wetlands from open steppe to boreal forest, including shallow freshwater and brackish marshlands, grassy or marshy lake-edges (Johnsgard 1981), river valleys, flooded meadows (Snow and Perrins 1998) and occasionally salt-lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season the species typically occurs on the margins of inland freshwater and brackish wetlands such as rice paddy-fields, swamps, salt-pans, salt-marshes, sewage works and marshy lake-edges, and although it is rare on open coastlines it can occasionally be found on estuaries, lagoons and intertidal mudflats (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005). Diet This species is carnivorous, its diet consisting of small fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and both aquatic and terrestrial insects (Higgins and Davies 1996, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest of this species is a shallow depression (Snow and Perrins 1998), often on a mound at the marshy edge of a lagoon, lake or pool (Johnsgard 1981).

Breeding The species has disappeared as a breeding bird from eastern Europe, Belarus, Maldova and Russia as a result of steppe habitat losses due to agricultural intensification (such as increased ploughing (Tomkovich 1992)), and possibly also due to egg-collecting (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It may also be threatened by industrial pollution from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (organic pollutants) in the Lake Baikal region in Russia, where high levels of pollutants have been recorded in its eggs (Lebedev et al. 1998). Non-breeding 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). The species is also threatened by habitat loss in its wintering range, as wetland sites in Ghana are being degraded through coastal erosion and developments involving drainage and land reclamation (Ntiamoa-Baidu 1991). It may be susceptible to future outbreaks of avian botulism (Blaker 1967, van Heerden 1974), partly due to its choice of habitat (it often shows a preference for sewage works) (Hockey et al. 2005).

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.

Blaker, D. 1967. An outbreak of Botulinus poisoning among waterbirds. Ostrich 38(2): 144-147.

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

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; 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.

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

Higgins, P. J.; Davies, S. J. J. F. 1996. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds vol 3: snipe to pigeons. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Hockey, P. A. R.; Dean, W. R. J.; Ryan, P. G. 2005. Roberts birds of southern Africa. Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa.

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

Lebedev, A. T.; Poliakova, O. V.; Karakhanova, N. K.; Petrosyan, V. S.; Renzoni, A. 1998. The contamination of birds with organic pollutants in the Lake Baikal region. Science of the Total Environment 212(2-3): 153-162.

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

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

Tomkovich, P. S. 1992. Breeding range and population changes of waders in the former Soviet Union. British Birds 85(7): 344-365.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. Academic Press, London.

van Heerden, J. 1974. Botulism in the Orange Free State goldfields. Ostrich 45(3): 182-184.

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.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Tringa stagnatilis. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 - Marsh sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author (Bechstein, 1803)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 6,300,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment