Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

Green Sandpiper

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Tringa ochropus | [UK] Green Sandpiper | [FR] Chevalier cul-blanc | [DE] Wald-Wasserlaufer | [ES] | [NL] Witgatje


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Medium-sized and dark Tringa. Very similar to T. glareola but larger and darker, tail white with four thick black bars. Foreneck, breast and upper flanks streaked grey-brown and underparts white.
Female averages larger. Non-breeding adult has less spotted upperparts and face, foreneck and center of breast whiter.

Listen to the sound of Green Sandpiper

[audio: Sandpiper.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 41 cm wingspan max.: 46 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 24 cm
incubation min.: 20 days incubation max.: 23 days
fledging min.: 26 days fledging max.: 23 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 4  


Eurasia : widespread


Damp wooded areas, in swampy woodland and mountain pine or spruce forest. In vicinity of trees, in variety of inland fresh waters, such as marshes, riverbanks, small ponds and narrow ditches, with protective vegetation.


Egg laying from April to May. pair bond is Monogamous. Usually uses old tree nests of other bird species, normally with little modification, sometimes on natural platform. 4 eggs are laid incubated for 20-23 days, by both sexes.
Chicks are pale drab grey marked fuscous black, with dark line across and along crown and tail. Both sexes tend chicks at first, but female may leave before fledging.

Feeding habits

Diet includes aquatic and terrestrial insects, mainly beetles, but also dragonfly, ants, water-bugs and moth larvae, small crustaceans, fish and plant fragments.
Mainly pecks food from shallow water and from surface of ground and plants.Sometimes uses trampling to stir up food, and sometimes wades or swims, and even dives. Usually feeds singly, sometimes in small, scattered groups.


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 appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely 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.
Green Sandpiper status Least Concern


Migratory. As an essentially freshwater species, migrates overland on broad front, spanning full width of west Palearctic (scarcest in extreme west). In general without large concentrations either on passage or at staging areas; aggregations of over 50 unusual. Winters sparingly in western and west-central Europe, even in southern Scandinavia in mild seasons. Main winter range, however, lies in Mediterranean basin and Africa, and across southern Asia from Turkey and Iran to eastern China and Philippines. In Africa, recorded south to Cape Province and Madagascar, though uncommon south of Gulf of Guinea in the west and Zambia in the east; sightings from oases and Sahel zone indicate broad-front crossings of Sahara.
A particularly early migrant, with southward passage beginning about 10 June in Finland, adult females preceding males; in second half June, first migrants reach all countries of north-west and central Europe, where main passage July-August. First arrivals south of Sahara early August, though not common there until September. Spring passage begins March or early April, and virtually completed by mid-May.

Distribution map

Green Sandpiper distribution range map

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