Spotted Redshank

Scientific name: Tringa erythropus

Did you know: The Spotted Redshank changes its leg colour from bright red in summer to orange in winter.

What Do Spotted Redshanks Look Like? (how to identify them)

Spotted Redshanks are graceful medium-sized wading birds. During the summer, their appearance is striking, with an almost fully black body contrasted by white spots on their wings, and a white back patch noticeable in flight, with a striped tail. 

Winter brings a transformation to a grey back and lighter underbelly, distinguished from Redshanks by their pronounced eye stripe and absence of white wing stripes. Their beak and legs also change colours seasonally, adding to their distinctive look.

Differences Between Male And Female Spotted Redshanks

Male and female Spotted Redshanks can be told apart mainly during the breeding season. Males are predominantly black with some white on their wings and lighter fringes on their breast, flanks, and belly. 

Females are generally larger and lighter, with white-tipped crowns. Outside the breeding season, these differences become less pronounced, making it more challenging to distinguish between the sexes.

What Do Spotted Redshanks Eat?

Spotted Redshanks are opportunistic feeders. Their diet consists of shrimps, small fish,  insect larvae, and worms. They forage in wetlands, using their long, needle-like beaks to probe into mud and shallow waters for food.

Where Do Spotted Redshanks Live? (inc. migration info)

The Spotted Redshank breeds across the North of Europe and Siberia, migrating to warmer regions like Europe, Africa, China, and Southeast Asia during winter. In the UK, they are a relatively rare winter visitor, primarily found at a few select sites. 

Notably, their migration and wintering patterns have made them an Amber List species due to their limited and concentrated presence in specific areas.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Spotted Redshanks)

The Spotted Redshank’s song is a distinctive creaking whistle, reminiscent of the sound of a roseate tern. Their alarm call is a rapid ‘kyip-kyip-kyip,’ serving as a vocal identifier among bird enthusiasts and ornithologists.

Fun Spotted Redshank Facts (kid friendly)

  • Spotted Redshanks dramatically change their plumage colour from black in summer to grey in winter.
  • They can be spotted by their unique leg colour changes – bright red in summer and orange in winter.
  • These birds breed in the Arctic and migrate south to warmer regions for the winter.
  • A Spotted Redshank’s wingspan can reach up to 67 cm, which is more than twice its body length!
  • They are known for their elegant flight, showcasing a white patch on their back which is especially visible when they are in the air.

Spotted Redshank 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

Facts About The Spotted Redshank

Diet: Insect larvae, shrimps, small fish and worms.
Bird Family: Sandpipers, snipes and phalaropes
Length: 29-31cm
Wingspan: 61-67cm
Weight: 140-200g
Scientific Name: Tringa erythropus

The Spotted Redshank Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

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