Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana)

Wandering Tattler

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Tringa incana | [UK] Wandering Tattler | [FR] Chevalier errant | [DE] Wander-Wasserlaufer | [ES] Playero de Alaska | [NL] Amerikaanse Grijze Ruiter


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Recognized at any time from the other shorebirds that inhabit similar rocks by its lack of pattern in flight. Solid grayish above; light line over the eye, dark line through it. Legs yellowish. In breeding plumage, underparts narrowly
barred. In fall and winter, gray-chested, with no barring. Bobs and teeters like the Spotted Sandpiper.

Listen to the sound of Wandering Tattler

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/W/Wandering Tattler.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 50 cm wingspan max.: 55 cm
size min.: 26 cm size max.: 30 cm
incubation min.: 23 days incubation max.: 25 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


North America : Northwest. The Wandering Tattler breeds in Siberia, Alaska and north-west Canada. Breeding areas occur on south slopes of Anadyr Range and Chukotsky Peninsula in Russia; in west central and south-coastal Alaska, roughly bounded by the Yukon River; and in central and south Yukon Territory, and north-west British Colombia, west of the Cassiar Mountains.


Rock coasts, pebbly beaches. Nests near mountain streams above timberline. During migration and in winter usually on rocky coastline or similar areas, such as rock jetties
or breakwaters. Occasionally feeds on nearby mudflats or sand beaches. In breeding season, found along rocky or gravelly streams in northern mountains.


Early in breeding season, male displays over nesting habitat with high flight, giving whistled song; flight path is long and straight, may extend well beyond limits of nesting territory.
Nest: Site is on ground among rocks or gravel near mountain stream. Nest is shallow depression; may be unlined, or may have substantial lining of small twigs, rootlets, and dry leaves.
Eggs: Usually 4. Olive to green, heavily blotched with brown. Incubation is by both parents, about 23-25 days. The incubating adult may sit motionless on the nest even when approached very closely.
Young: Downy young leave nest soon after hatching. Both parents tend the young at first, but after 1-
2 weeks usually only one adult is present. Young feed themselves, following parents along edge of stream; young can swim well even when small. Age at first flight not well known.

Feeding habits

Includes insects, crustaceans, mollusks.
On northern breeding grounds, feeds on insects, including flies, beetles, and caddisflies, also amphipods and small mollusks. During migration and in winter, eats a variety of mollusks, marine worms, crabs and other crustaceans, and other invertebrates.

Behavior: Forages more actively than other shoreb
irds of rocky coasts, moving about quickly over rocks, picking items from surface. Also probes among rocks or in mats of algae. On breeding grounds, forages by walking or wading along mountain streams.


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 may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to 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.
Wandering Tattler status Least Concern


Breeds northwestern North America; winters coastally south to Ecuador and on many Pacific islands. Migration:
Mostly a long-distance migrant. Some winter along our Pacific Coast, but many go as far as Australia, in series of long flights across Pacific. Small numbers also winter along South American west coast.

Distribution map

Wandering Tattler distribution range map

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