Green Sandpiper

Tringa ochropus (Linnaeus, 1758) GE GRESA 5530
Family: Charadriiformes > Scolopacidae

Green Sandpiper, Allan Drewitt

Most Green Sandpipers are seen during their autumn migration, when they are passing through Britain on journeys from Scandinavia to their African wintering grounds.

They enjoy the clear chalk waters of south-east England, often using old water-cress beds or small ditches, and it is here that a few individuals may choose to spend the winter instead of moving south. An encounter with a Green Sandpiper is often a fleeting view of a dark bird with a white rump, dashing away and making a thin repeated whistle.

Very small numbers of Green Sandpipers breed in northern Scotland, using habitats similar to the tundra more typically used further north.


Green Sandpiper identification is sometimes difficult. The following article may help when identifying Green Sandpiper.


Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Green Sandpiper, provided by xeno-canto contributors.

Flight call


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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.




During the winter, Green Sandpipers are widely spread throughout much of lowland England with densities greatest in coastal lowlands, major vales and river valleys. Green Sandpipers are very rare breeders in Britain, with three pairs breeding in Scotland during 2008–11.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


Perhaps as a result of recent milder winters, the number of Green Sandpipers overwintering appears to have increased, with 56% more 10-km squares occupied during 2007–11 compared to in the 1980s. Most gains have been in the lowlands of England, Wales and southern Ireland, though there has also been a notable extension of the winter range into north England and central Scotland.

Change in occupied 10-km squares in the UK


Green Sandpiper is a regular wintering species and very common autumn passage, with first birds arriving in June.

Weekly occurence of Green Sandpiper from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.

An overview of year-round movements for the whole of Europe can be seen on the EuroBirdPortal viewer.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of Green Sandpiper ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland
Encountered in: Winter (Nov-Feb); Spring (Mar-Apr); Summer (May-Jul); Autumn (Aug-Oct)


Lifecycle and body size information about Green Sandpiper, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.



View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report


Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Luatharan-uaine
Welsh: Pibydd Gwyrdd
Catalan: xivita comuna
Czech: vodouš kropenatý
Danish: Svaleklire
Dutch: Witgat
Estonian: metstilder
Finnish: metsäviklo
French: Chevalier cul-blanc
German: Waldwasserläufer
Hungarian: erdei cankó
Icelandic: Trjástelkur
Irish: Gobadán Glas
Italian: Piro piro culbianco
Latvian: meža tilbite, titilbis
Lithuanian: brastinis tilvikas
Norwegian: Skogsnipe
Polish: samotnik
Portuguese: maçarico-bique-bique
Slovak: kalužiak perlavý
Slovenian: pikasti martinec
Spanish: Andarríos grande
Swedish: skogssnäppa

Links to more information from

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