Tringa nebularia


A large, elegant sandpiper, greenshank feed in shallow waters, often chasing small invertebrates and fish which it hunts by sight. Greenshank are found only on moors and bogs in Scotland during summer but on migration it can be found across the UK on inland freshwater lakes and marshes, and coastal wetlands.

How to identify

Greenshank can be distinguished from the godwits and redshank (similar-sized waders) by the colour of their legs: grey-green. Adults are olive-grey above and silvery-white below, with dark streaking on the breast. Greenshank have long, slightly upturned, grey bills.

Where to find it

A scarce visitor on migration and rare winter visitor to shallow wetlands inland and around the coast. Nests on the boggy 'flow country' of northern Scotland.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Although greenshank are relatively common birds their wetland habitats are under threat from changing agricultural practices, land drainage and development but The Wildlife Trusts are working with farmers and landowners to promote wildlife-friendly practices. We are working towards a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Tringa nebularia
Wading birds
Length: 30-35cm Wingspan: 69cm Weight: 190g Average Lifespan: 9 years
Conservation status