Grey-tailed Tattler (Tringa brevipes)

Grey-tailed Tattler

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Tringa brevipes | [UK] Grey-tailed Tattler | [FR] Chevalier de Sibirie | [DE] Grauschwanz-Wasserlaufer | [ES] | [NL] Siberische Grijze Ruiter


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Heteroscelus brevipes (Polynesian Tattler, 25 cm). Very similar to Wandering Tattler, but in breeding plumage the underparts are not as strongly barred. At rest, the wing tips of the Wandering extend further beyond the tail. In fall migration the two are more difficult to separate. Best distinguished by voice, a sharp, upslurred whistle–too-weet’ or tu-whip’, with the accent on the second syllable. Rare, but regular migrant in outer Aleutians and Bering Sea islands; casual, n. Alaska. Also called Siberian Tattler.

Listen to the sound of Grey-tailed Tattler

[audio: Tattler.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: cm wingspan max.: cm
size min.: 23 cm size max.: 25 cm
incubation min.: 4 days incubation max.: 25 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 25 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : Northeast, nc


Grey-tailed Tattlers are usually seen in small flocks on sheltered coasts with reefs and rock platforms or with intertidal mudflats. They are also found in intertidal rocky, coral or stony reefs, platforms and islets that are exposed at high tide, also shores of rock, shingle, gravel and shells and on intertidal mudflats in embayments, estuaries and coastal lagoons, especially those fringed with mangroves.


Grey-tailed Tattlers breed in the remote mountains of eastern Siberia, in June and July. The nest is a shallow depression among stones and both parents share the care of the young. Four light blue eggs speckled with black are laid on the bare ground sheltered by rocks; sometimes uses an abandoned thrush nest. Incubation ranges from 24 to 25 days and is carried out by both parents.

Feeding habits

Grey-tailed Tattlers feed by day on polychaete worms, molluscs, crustaceans, insects and, occasionally, fish. They like small crabs. They dart about, bobbing and teetering between runs and locate prey by sight or by probing.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km2. It has a large global population estimated to be 40,000 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.
Grey-tailed Tattlers breed in Siberia and on passage are seen along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (the migration route to Australia). When non-breeding they are found in China, Philipines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, New Guinea, Micronesia, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. They are more commonly seen in the north of Australia.
Grey-tailed Tattler status Least Concern


Migratory. Migration mainly coastal, but sometimes on inland wetlands. On passage, occurs in W Aleutian Is, Kuril Is, Korea, Japan, NE China, Hong Kong and Philippines; some birds cross Mongolia and C China; also some movement across SW Pacific; probably two migration routes in Australia, on either side of New Guinea. Migrates in Jul-Oct and Mar-May. Some birds estimated to be capable of flying non-stop from NW Australia to Philippines or S China. Most departures from N Australia late Mar to late Apr. Most 1st-birds remain S during N summer.

Distribution map

Grey-tailed Tattler distribution range map

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