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Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) | by Brian Carruthers-Dublin-Eire
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Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)


[order] Charadriiformes | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Tringa glareola | [UK] Wood Sandpiper | [FR] Chevalier sylvain | [DE] Bruchwasserläufer | [ES] Andarríos Bastardo | [IT] Piro-piro boschereccio | [NL] Bosruiter | [IRL] Gobadán coille



spanwidth min.: 50 cm

spanwidth max.: 56 cm

size min.: 19 cm

size max.: 21 cm


incubation min.: 22 days

incubation max.: 23 days

fledging min.: 28 days

fledging max.: 31 days

broods 1

eggs min.: 3

eggs max.: 4


Physical characteristics

Head,neck and breast finely streaked grey brown. Supercilium and throat white. Upperparts black brown with white spots, underparts white. Very similar to T. ochropus, but paler, less bulky and longer-legged. Underwing much paler. Has longer neck and legs than more uniform T. hypoleucos. Female averages slightly larger. Non-breeding adult has browner and less spotted upperparts, breast washed grey and less streaked.


Open swampy areas in boreal forest, especially scrubland between tundra and coniferous forest, peatlands, marshlands with deciduous bushes, and wet heathlands with scattered conifers. Outside breeding season, found in more open areas including open margins of inland fresh waters, muddy marsshes, grassy stream banks, sewage farms, wet paddyfields, tiny temporary pools and streams.

Other details

Tringa glareola is a widespread summer visitor to northern Europe, which accounts for less than half of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is large (>350,000 pairs), but underwent a moderate decline between 1970-1990. Although the species was stable overall during 1990-2000—with key populations in Finland and Russia stable or fluctuating—its population has clearly not yet recovered to the level that preceded its decline. Consequently, it is evaluated as Depleted.

This wader inhabits peat bogs and wet grasslands in boreal and temperate regions of Eurasia, mainly between 50°N and 73°N. Its European populations are wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. The only populations of the European Union (12 Member States) are those of Scotland, Germany and Denmark, which are all definitely declining because of wetland reclamation. They are estimated at 50-100 breeding pairs, while the global European population can still be estimated at 350000 pairs, excluding the huge Russian population


Diet includes chiefly aquatic insects, beetles, worms, spiders, crustaceans, molluscs, small fish, sometimes plant matter. Probes, pecks or sweeps bill through water, also able to catch flying insects from air. Feeds in shallow water or on mud. Often feeds singly, but also in pairs or scattered groups.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 3,100,000-4,300,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from]


Egg laying from May to June. Pairs bond Monogamous. Nest is a scrape lined with moss, stems and leaves, on ground among dense cover. Frequently in trees, in old nests of other species. 4 eggs are laid in a single brood, incubation 23 days, by both sexes. Chick pale buff to pale cream marked fuscous black and mottled greyish brown to cinnamon on upper back, with wide dark cap and white belly. Care of young only by male. Age of first breeding 1 year.


Migratory, wintering mainly in tropical and subtropical latitudes in Africa, across southern Asia to southern China, Philippines, and Indonesia, and in Australia. In west Palearctic, small numbers winter on Atlantic coast of Morocco, and a very few around Mediterranean and in Iraq. Adult movements away from European breeding areas begin late June, with juveniles following a month later. In tropical Africa, adults arrive August (a few in late July), juveniles in September, numbers increasing into October. Spring departures from winter quarters begin late March to early April, though some non-breeders summer there. Movement through Europe and Middle East April-May, with briefer pauses and no large concentrations. Breeding grounds reoccupied late April to late May, or in early June in northern Russia.



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Taken on September 25, 2016