Common Redshank

Common Redshank
For the plant called "Redshank", see Persicaria maculosa.
Common Redshank
Breeding plumage
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Subclass: Neornithes
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Tringa
Species: T. totanus
Binomial name
Tringa totanus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Totanus totanus (Linnaeus, 1758)

The Common Redshank or simply Redshank (Tringa totanus) is an Eurasian wader in the large family Scolopacidae.

Description and systematics

Bird in flight (Laguna di Venezia, Italy)

Common Redshanks in breeding plumage are a marbled brown color, slightly lighter below. In winter plumage they become somewhat lighter-toned and less patterned, being rather plain greyish-brown above and whitish below. They have red legs and a black-tipped red bill, and show white up the back and on the wings in flight.

The Spotted Redshank (T. erythropus), which breeds in the Arctic, has a longer bill and legs; it is almost entirely black in breeding plumage and very pale in winter. It is not a particularly close relative of the Common Redshank, but rather belongs to a high-latitude lineage of largish shanks. T. totanus on the other hand is closely related to the Marsh Sandpiper (T. stagnatilis), and closer still to the small Wood Sandpiper (T. glareola). The ancestors of the latter and the Common Redshank seem to have diverged around the Miocene-Pliocene boundary, about 5-6 million years ago. These three subarctic- to temperate-region species form a group of smallish shanks with have red or yellowish legs, and in breeding plumage are generally a subdued light brown above with some darker mottling, and have somewhat diffuse small brownish spots on the breast and neck.[1]


It is a widespread breeding bird across temperate Eurasia. It is a migratory species, wintering on coasts around the Mediterranean, on the Atlantic coast of Europe from Great Britain southwards, and in South Asia. They are uncommon vagrants outside these areas; on Palau in Micronesia for example, the species was recorded in the mid-1970s and in 2000[2].

Two Redshanks on a stone pillar

They are wary and noisy birds which will alert everything else with their loud piping call. Like most waders, they feed on small invertebrates. Redshanks will nest in any wetland, from damp meadows to saltmarsh, often at high densities. They lay 3-5 eggs.

The Common Redshank is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

It is widely distributed and quite plentiful in some regions, and thus not considered a threatened species by the IUCN.[3]


  1. ^ Pereira & Baker (2005)
  2. ^ Wiles et al. (2006)
  3. ^ BLI (2008)


  • BirdLife International (BLI) (2008). Tringa totanus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 12 May 2009.
  • Pereira, Sérgio Luiz & Baker, Alan J. (2005): Multiple Gene Evidence for Parallel Evolution and Retention of Ancestral Morphological States in the Shanks (Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae). Condor 107(3): 514–526. DOI:10.1650/0010-5422(2005)107[0514:MGEFPE]2.0.CO;2 PDF fulltext
  • Wiles, Gary J.; Johnson, Nathan C.; de Cruz, Justine B.; Dutson, Guy; Camacho, Vicente A.; Kepler, Angela Kay; Vice, Daniel S.; Garrett, Kimball L.; Kessler, Curt C. & Pratt, H. Douglas (2004): New and Noteworthy Bird Records for Micronesia, 1986–2003. Micronesica 37(1): 69-96. HTML abstract

External links

 Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). "Redshank". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • common redshank — raudonkojis tulikas statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Tringa totanus angl. common redshank vok. Rotschenkel, m rus. красноножка, f; травник, m pranc. chevalier gambette, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – tulikai …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • Redshank — can refer to:*Two species of birds: ** Common Redshank Tringa totanus ** Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus *Three species of plant: ** Redshank (plant) Polygonum persicaria ** Redshank (moss) Ceratodon purpureus ** Scarce Redshank Ceratodon… …   Wikipedia

  • redshank — /red shangk /, n. an Old World sandpiper, Tringa totanus, having red legs and feet. [1515 25; RED1 + SHANK] * * * ▪ bird group  either of two species of Old World shorebirds of the family Scolopacidae (order Charadriiformes), characterized by its …   Universalium

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  • redshank — /ˈrɛdʃæŋk/ (say redshangk) noun either of two Northern Hemisphere wading birds of the genus Tringa, as the common redshank, T. totanus, or spotted redshank, T. erythio, having long red legs …  

  • Redshank — Red shank (r?d sh?nk ), n. 1. (Zo[ o]l.) (a) A common Old World limicoline bird ({Totanus calidris}), having the legs and feet pale red. The spotted redshank ({Totanus fuscus}) is larger, and has orange red legs. Called also {redshanks}, {redleg} …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • redshank — [red′shaŋk΄] n. either of two European sandpipers with reddish legs, esp. the more common species (Tringa totanus) …   English World dictionary

  • redshank — noun Date: 1525 a common Old World sandpiper (Tringa totanus) with pale red legs and feet …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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