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Common Redshank Tringa totanus

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 is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds 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.

Population justification
The global population is estimated to number c.960,000-2,600,000 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.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; c.50-10,000 wintering individuals in Korea; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Japan 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 uncertain, as some populations are decreasing, while others are stable, increasing or have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006). In Europe, trends since 1980 show that populations have undergone a moderate decline (p<0.01), based on provisional data for 21 countries from the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (EBCC/RSPB/BirdLife/Statistics Netherlands; P. Vorisek in litt. 2008).

Behaviour Most populations of this species are fully migratory and travel on a broad front over land and along coasts, some Icelandic and Western European populations remaining close to their breeding grounds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds from March to August (Hayman et al. 1986) in solitarily pairs or in loose colonies (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), departing the breeding grounds from June to October, and returning from the wintering grounds again between February and April (Hayman et al. 1986). Outside of the breeding season the species forages singly, in small groups (del Hoyo et al. 1996) or occasionally in larger flocks of up to c.1,000 individuals (Snow and Perrins 1998) especially at roosting sites (Hayman et al. 1986) or when feeding on fish (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding The species breeds on coastal saltmarshes, inland wet grasslands with short swards (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (including cultivated meadows) (Johnsgard 1981), grassy marshes, swampy heathlands (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and swampy moors (Johnsgard 1981). Non-breeding On passage the species may frequent inland flooded grasslands (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and the silty shores of rivers and lakes (Flint et al. 1984), but during the winter it is largely coastal (del Hoyo et al. 1996), occupying rocky, muddy and sandy beaches, saltmarshes, tidal mudflats, saline and freshwater coastal lagoons (del Hoyo et al. 1996), tidal estuaries (Johnsgard 1981), saltworks and sewage farms (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Breeding When breeding its diet consists of insects, spiders and annelid worms (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding During the non-breeding season the species takes insects, spiders and annelid worms (del Hoyo et al. 1996), as well as molluscs, crustaceans (especially amphipods e.g. Corophium spp.) (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and occasionally small fish and tadpoles (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest s a shallow scrape or hollow (Snow and Perrins 1998) on a hummock or at the base of a tuft (Flint et al. 1984) of grass (del Hoyo et al. 1996), often well hidden by overhanging leaves (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species usually nests solitarily inland (less than 10 pairs/km2) but in loosely colonial groups (up to 100-300 pairs/km2) on the coast (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Management information Optimal breeding conditions for this species may be provided by creating a mosaic of unflooded grassland, winter-flooded grassland and shallow pools (Ausden et al. 2002). Winter flooding of grasslands is beneficial to the species as it helps to keep the sward height short and open and also creates pools which provide a source of aquatic invertebrates in the spring (Ausden et al. 2002, Olsen and Schmidt 2004). Such shallow pools on coastal grazing marshes should be maintained until the end of June (Ausden et al. 2003). The number of breeding pairs on improved grassland was successfully increased on a reserve in Wales by the implementation of a two-year rotation of chisel ploughing, as well as a seasonal sheep and cattle grazing regime and a controlled increase in the water-level (Squires and Allcorn 2006). At Lower Lough Erne in Northern Ireland the breeding population of the species increased considerably as a result of cutting rush beds in mid-winter (although the species nested on uncut areas, chicks benefited from the presence of adjacent short, open areas for feeding) (Robson and Allcorn 2006). Low-level grazing of salt marshes (e.g. c.1 cow per hectare) does not appear to affect the species and may even be beneficial to breeding populations (Norris et al. 1997, Ausden et al. 2005), although cattle should not be put onto the marsh until towards the end of the nesting season (e.g. late-May or early-June) to minimise the risk of nest trampling (Norris et al. 1997). There is also evidence that too heavy grazing can be detrimental (Evans 1986). The species is known to show increased hatching success when ground predators have been excluded by erecting protective fences around nesting areas (Jackson 2001), and in the UK there is evidence that the removal of Spartina anglica from tidal mudflats using a herbicide is beneficial for the species (Evans 1986).

The species is threatened by the loss of breeding and wintering habitats through agricultural intensification, wetland drainage, flood control, afforestation, land reclamation, industrial development (del Hoyo et al. 1996), encroachment of Spartina spp. on mudflats (Evans 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), improvement of marginal grasslands (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. by drainage, inorganic fertilising and re-seeding) (Baines 1988), coastal barrage construction (Burton 2006), and heavy grazing (e.g. of saltmarshes) (Norris et al. 1998). The species is also threatened by disturbance on intertidal mudflats from construction work (UK) (Burton et al. 2002a) and foot-traffic on footpaths (Burton et al. 2002b). It is vulnerable to severe cold periods on its Western European wintering grounds (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and suffers from nest predation by introduced predators (e.g. European hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus) on some islands (Jackson 2001). The species is also susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the viurs (Melveille and Shortridge 2006).

Ausden, M.; Badley, J.; James, L. 2005. The effect of introducing cattle grazing to saltmarsh on densities of breeding redshank Tringa totanus at Frampton Marsh RSPB Reserve, Lincolnshire, England. Conservation Evidence 2: 57-59.

Ausden, M.; Rowlands, A.; Sutherland, W. J.; James, R. 2003. Diet of breeding Lapwing Vanellus vanellus and Redshank Tringa totanus on coastal grazing marsh and implications for habitat management. Bird Study 50: 285-293.

Baines, D. 1988. The effects of improvement of upland grassland on the distribution and density of breeding wading birds (Charadriiformes) in northern England. Biological Conservation 45: 221-236.

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

Burton, N. H. K. 2006. The impact of the Cardiff Bay barrage on wintering waterbirds. In: Boere, G.; Galbraith, C., Stroud, D. (ed.), aterbirds around the world, pp. 805. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.

Burton, N. H. K.; Armitage, M. J. S.; Musgrove, A. J.; Rehfisch, M. M. 2002. Impacts of Man-Made landscape Features on Numbers of Estuarine Waterbirds at Low Tide. Environmental Management 30(6): 857-864.

Burton, N. H. K.; Rehfisch, M. M.; Clark, N. A. 2002. Impacts of Disturbance from Construction Work on the Densities and Feeding Behavior of Waterbirds using the Intertidal Mudflats of Cardiff Bay, UK. Environmental Management 30(6): 865-871.

Crick, H. Q. P.; Dudley, C.; Glue, D.E.; Thomson, D.L. 1997. UK birds are laying earlier. Nature 388: 526.

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.

Evans, P. R. 1986. Use of the Herbicide 'Dalapon' for Control of Spartina Encroaching on Intertidal Mudflats: Beneficial Effects on Shorebirds. Colonial Waterbirds 9(1): 171-175.

Flint, V. E.; Boehme, R. L.; Kostin, Y. V.; 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.

Jackson, D. B. 2001. Experimental Removal of Introduced Hedgehogs Improves Wader Nest Success in the Western Isles, Scotland. Journal of Applied Ecology 38(4): 802-812.

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

Melville, D. S.; Shortridge, K. F. 2006. Migratory waterbirds and avian influenza in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway with particular reference to the 2003-2004 H5N1 outbreak. In: Boere, G.; Galbraith, C., Stroud, D. (ed.), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 432-438. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.

Norris, K.; Brindley, E.; Cook, T.; Babbs, S.; Forster Brown, C.; Yaxley, R. 1998. Is the density of Redshank Tringa totanus nesting on saltmarshes in Great Britain declining due to changes in grazing management? Journal of Applied Ecology 35(5): 621-634.

Norris, K.; Cook, T.; O'Dowd, B.; Durdin, C. 1997. The Density of Redshank Tringa totanus Breeding on the Salt-Marshes of the Wash in Relation to Habitat and Its Grazing Management. Journal of Applied Ecology 34(4): 999-1013.

Olsen, H.; Schmidt, N. M. 2004. Impacts of wet grassland management and winter severity on wader breeding numbers in eastern Denmark. Basic and Applied Ecology 5: 203-210.

Robson, B.; Allcorn, R. I. 2006. Rush cutting to create nesting patches for lapwings Vanellus vanellus and other waders, Lower Lough Erne RSPB reserve, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Conservation Evidence 3: 81-83.

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

Squires, R.; Allcorn, R. I. 2006. The effect of chisel ploughing to create nesting habitat for breeding lapwings Vanellus vanellus at Ynys-Hir RSPB reserve, Powys, Wales. Conservation Evidence 3: 77-78.

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)

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Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Tringa totanus. Downloaded from on 31/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 31/07/2014.

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 - Common redshank (Tringa totanus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 19,700,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species