The wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola) is a small wader belonging to the sandpiper family Scolopacidae. A Eurasian species, it is the smallest of the shanks, a genus of mid-sized, long-legged waders that largely inhabit freshwater and wetland environments, as opposed to the maritime or coastal habitats of other, similar species.

Wood sandpiper
Wood sandpiper in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Safari Park, Gazipur City, Bangladesh
At timbi lake vadodara
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Tringa
T. glareola
Binomial name
Tringa glareola

Rhyacophilus glareola (Linnaeus, 1758)

Tringa glareola

The genus name, Tringa, is the Neo-Latin name given to the green sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) in 1599 by Aldrovandus, based on the Ancient Greek trungas, a "thrush-sized, white-rumped, tail-bobbing" wading bird mentioned by Aristotle. The specific glareola is from the Latin glarea, meaning "gravel".[2]

Description and systematics


The wood sandpiper resembles a longer-legged, more delicate form of the aforementioned green sandpiper (T. ochropus), or a solitary sandpiper (T. solitaria), albeit with a shorter, finer bill, brown back and longer yellowish legs. The wood sandpiper differs from the green by having a smaller, less contrasting white rump-patch, while the solitary sandpiper has no rump-patch, at all.[3] However, the wood sandpiper is not closely related to these two species; its closest relative is the common redshank (T. totanus), with which it shares a sister relationship with the marsh sandpiper (T. stagnatilis). These three species are a group of smallish shanks with red or yellowish legs, displaying a breeding plumage of subdued, light-brown above (with some darker mottling), and a pattern of somewhat smaller, diffuse, brownish spots on the breast and neck.[3][4]



The wood sandpiper breeds in subarctic wetlands, from the Scottish Highlands in the west, east across Eurasia and the Palearctic. They will migrate to Africa, South Asia (particularly India) and Australia. Vagrant birds have been seen as far into the Pacific as the Hawaiian Islands. In Micronesia, it is a regular visitor to Palau and the Mariana Islands, where flocks of up to 32 birds have been reported; it is observed and recorded on Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, approximately once each decade. The wood sandpiper is also encountered in the Western Pacific region of East Asia and some Western Pacific islands between mid-October and mid-May.[3][5][6][7] A slight westward-expansion saw the establishment of a small resident breeding population in Scotland, beginning in the 1950s.

This species is usually found in and around freshwater habitats during migration and wintering. They forage for invertebrates by probing their bills in shallow water or into wet mud, such as lakeshores or riverbanks, and mainly eat aquatic insects, crustaceans, arthropods, various worms, and other small prey. T. glareola nests primarily on the ground, or will re-use an abandoned tree nest of another bird species, such as the fieldfare (Turdus pilaris).[3] Four pale-green eggs are laid between March and May.

Mature wood sandpipers moult all of their primary feathers between August and December, whilst juvenile birds shed a varying number of outer primaries between December and April, much closer to their departure from Africa. Immature birds are also much more flexible than older birds regarding the timing (and rate) of their moult and refueling. Adults and immatures which accumulate fuel loads of c.50% of their lean body mass can potentially cross distances of 2397–4490 km in one non-stop flight.[8]

The wood sandpiper is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. With an apparently stable, healthy global population, it is considered a Species of Least Concern, as per the IUCN.[9]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Tringa glareola". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22693247A86689640. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22693247A86689640.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 174, 390. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ a b c d Hayman, Peter; Marchant, John; Prater, Tony (1986). Shorebirds: an identification guide to the waders of the world. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-60237-8.
  4. ^ Pereira, S.L.; Baker, A.J. (2005). "Multiple Gene Evidence for Parallel Evolution and Retention of Ancestral Morphological States in the Shanks (Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae)". Condor. 107 (3): 514–526. doi:10.1650/0010-5422(2005)107[0514:MGEFPE]2.0.CO;2. S2CID 86221767.
  5. ^ Wiles, Gary J.; Worthington, David J.; Beck, Robert E. Jr.; Pratt, H. Douglas; Aguon, Celestino F.; Pyle, Robert L. (2000). "Noteworthy Bird Records for Micronesia, with a Summary of Raptor Sightings in the Mariana Islands, 1988–1999" (PDF). Micronesica. 32 (2): 257–284. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-04-23. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  6. ^ VanderWerf, Eric A. (2006). "Observations on the birds of Kwajalein Atoll, including six new species records for the Marshall Islands" (PDF). Micronesica. 38 (2): 221–237. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  7. ^ VanderWerf, Eric A.; Wiles, Gary J.; Marshall, Ann P.; Knecht, Melia (2006). "Observations of migrants and other birds in Palau, April–May 2005, including the first Micronesian record of a Richard's Pipit" (PDF). Micronesica. 39 (1): 11–29. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  8. ^ Remisiewicz, M.; Tree, A. J.; Underhill, L. G.; Burman, M. S. (2017). "Age-specific variation in relationship between moult and pre-migratory fuelling in Wood Sandpipers Tringa glareola in southern Africa". Ibis. 159 (1): 91–102. doi:10.1111/ibi.12436.
  9. ^ "Species factsheet: Tringa glareola". BirdLife International. 2008.