Greenshank

Greenshank

Scientific name: Tringa nebularia

Did you know: Greenshanks are unique among waders for their green legs and the slightly upturned bill, making them a fascinating subject for birdwatchers!

What Do Greenshanks Look Like? (how to identify them)

Greenshanks are medium-sized, slim waders distinguished by their dark grey backs and striking white underparts. 

Their notable green legs and the subtly upturned bill set them apart from other waders. Adult Greenshanks in breeding plumage display darkish brown upperparts with streaks and spots. They exhibit a white rump and back, which are especially visible in flight. 

Their long, slender bills are grey-green at the base with a black tip, and have dark brown eyes. Their legs and feet are pale green to yellow in colour.

Differences Between Male And Female Greenshanks

Male and female Greenshanks share a similar plumage, though females are generally larger. The males flaunt a sleeker build with slightly lighter weight compared to their female counterparts.

What Do Greenshanks Eat?

Greenshanks have a varied diet comprising worms, insects, snails, and small fish. They forage in shallow waters, pecking beneath the surface for aquatic invertebrates, crustaceans, molluscs, and amphibians. During the winter, they rely heavily on crabs.

Where Do Greenshanks Live? (inc. migration info)

Greenshanks breed in the northern parts of Scotland and migrate extensively. They winter in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Australasia, typically on freshwater bodies. Their breeding habitat includes dry grounds near marshy areas, while in winter, they favour marine and intertidal wetlands.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Greenshanks)

The Greenshank’s call is a distinctive part of its identity. A rapid series of three short fluty notes, often described as ‘teu-teu-teu’, is commonly heard. This call is particularly noticeable during their flight and is a hallmark of their presence in wetlands.

Fun Greenshank Facts (kid friendly)

  • Greenshanks are known for their green legs and slightly upturned bills.
  • They can be seen both alone and in small groups.
  • Their diet includes worms, snails, and even small fish.
  • Greenshanks migrate long distances, from the UK to Africa and Australasia.
  • They have a unique three-note call that sounds like ‘teu-teu-teu’.
  • In flight, Greenshanks show a white wedge on their backs.
  • They are larger than common redshanks, another type of wading bird.
  • Greenshanks breed in Scotland and are seen during migration across the UK.
  • They prefer wetlands and marshy habitats for living and breeding.
  • Their nests are usually near a large rock or dead tree.

Facts About The Greenshank

Diet: Worms, snails and fish
Bird Family: Sandpipers, snipes and phalaropes
Length: 32cm
Wingspan: 69cm
Weight: 190g
Scientific Name: Tringa nebularia

The Greenshank Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Greenshank Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile