Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)

Marsh Sandpiper

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Tringa stagnatilis | [UK] Marsh Sandpiper | [FR] Chevalier stagnatile | [DE] Teich-Wasserlaufer | [ES] Archibebe Fino | [NL] Poelruiter


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Straightish, needle like bill, small body and long legs. Looks like small, fine T. nrbulstis. Wings dark, rump and back white, face pale, upperparts strongly spotted and blotched with greyish cinnamon and black-brown. Foreneck, breast and flanks with black markings.
Female averages slightly larger. Non-breeding adult has plain grey upperpants with narrow white fringes and contrasting dark wing coverts. Face and underparts white.
Juvenile as non-breeding, but upperparts browner with buff spots and fringes.

Listen to the sound of Marsh Sandpiper

[audio: Sandpiper.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 55 cm wingspan max.: 60 cm
size min.: 22 cm size max.: 25 cm
incubation min.: 26 days incubation max.: 29 days
fledging min.: 41 days fledging max.: 29 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : Central


Steppe and boreal wetlands, deep inland, preferably in open marshland with fresh grassy cover. Brackish shallow marshes, less frequently around salt-lakes.
Outside breeding season, occurs typically at margins of inland fresh to brackish wetlands, including paddy fields, swamps, salt-pans, salt-marshes, sewage farms, estuaries, lagoons and intertidal mudflats. Avoids open beaches. On migration often feeds alongside Common Greenshank.


Egg laying from April to June. Monogamous pair bondduring the season and breeds solitary or in loose colonies. Sometimes together with other species, like Vanellus vanellus or Limosa limosa). Nest placed on mound, in short vegetation, close to water. Usually filled wih dry grass. 4 eggs are laid, both sexes incubate and tend brood.
Chick creamy buff above with blackish brown markings, face, chin and belly almost white. Age of first breeding 1 year.

Feeding habits

Diet includes at least small fish, crustaceans, molluscs and many insects, mostly aquatic, sometimes terrestrial. Occasionally plant material.
Often feeds in shallow water, pecking from water surface, while walking steadily and briskly. Sometimes probes, jabs or sweeps bill through water. rarely swims.
When feeding on fish, may forage socially in dense flock of conspecifics or mixed with other tringines, moving erratically while picking at prey or running synchronously in one direction while ploughing or scything bill trough water.


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very 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.
Marsh Sandpiper status Least Concern


Migratory. Like other freshwater Tringa, known to occur on broad fronts overland, though overflying large regions between staging areas. Winters in warm latitudes from Africa and across southern Asia to Vietnam, Indonesia, and Australia. Main passages into and from Russia believed to occur east of Black Sea; hence only minority cross Europe. In SW-SSW autumn movements from Russia (reversed in spring), regularly crosses Slovakia, Hungary, Balkans, Italy, and thence eastern Mediterranean (where a few winter). Very rare in Britain and north European plains (Poland, Germany, north of 50 degrees N), but less rare in south-central Europe. Also occurs sparingly but fairly regularly in eastern and southern France and southern Spain. These western elements mostly cross Sahara to and from Afrotropical winter quarters.
Exodus from breeding range spans first half July to early September. Main passage through west Palearctic in August and first half September. Departures from Africa in second half March and April, with passage through southern FSU early April to early May, and breeding areas reoccupied mid-April to mid-May. While some non-breeders summer in East Africa, a few return north and remain in flocks close to nesting areas.

Distribution map

Marsh Sandpiper distribution range map

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