Spotted Redshank

Tringa erythropus (Pallas, 1764) DR SPORE 5450
Family: Charadriiformes > Scolopacidae

Spotted Redshank, Philip Croft

One of the most elegant waders, with its slim proportions and long needle-like bill, the Spotted Redshank lives up to its name when in its summer plumage, which is dark with white spots.

Spotted Redshank does not breed in Britain and is mainly a passage migrant, seen in both spring and autumn. Unlike the dark summer plumage, autumn and winter individuals are grey above and white below, much paler than their more uniform common cousin, the Redshank.

There is an increasing wintering population in England, with birds distributed mainly around the eastern and southern coasts. The Humber Estuary, The Wash and the Blackwater Estuary in Essex are favoured locations. Spotted Redshanks also winter in small numbers in southern Ireland.


Spotted Redshank identification is sometimes difficult. The following article may help when identifying Spotted Redshank.

related video

Identifying common shanks

Redshank are common, familiar (and very noisy) waders found, year-round, on our coastal habitats as well as inland during the breeding season. Very small numbers of the related Greenshank breed, but can you separate Redshank, Greenshank and the arctic-breeding Spotted Redshank when all three can be found together in late summer and autumn on saltmarshes and lagoons?


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


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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.




Spotted Redshanks are most familiar as a passage migrant. Most winter in equatorial Africa, a small proportion remaining in western Europe, including up to 100 birds in Britain and tens of individuals in Ireland. Most occur around the coast in estuaries, marshes and coastal lagoons.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


Spotted Redshank range has contracted in Ireland but expanded in Britain. The latter is consistent with a trend for increasing wintering by many waders, most likely linked to climate change.


Spotted Redshanks are recorded throughout the year, though most often during early autumn passage. Small numbers winter.

Weekly occurence of Spotted Redshank 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.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of Spotted Redshank 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 Spotted Redshank, 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: Gearradh-breac
Welsh: Pibydd Coesgoch Mannog
Catalan: gamba roja pintada
Czech: vodouš tmavý
Danish: Sortklire
Dutch: Zwarte Ruiter
Estonian: tumetilder
Finnish: mustaviklo
French: Chevalier arlequin
German: Dunkler Wasserläufer
Hungarian: füstös cankó
Icelandic: Sótstelkur
Irish: Cosdeargán Breac
Italian: Totano moro
Latvian: tumša tilbite
Lithuanian: tamsusis tilvikas
Norwegian: Sotsnipe
Polish: brodziec sniady
Portuguese: perna-vermelha-bastardo
Slovak: kalužiak tmavý
Slovenian: crni martinec
Spanish: Archibebe oscuro
Swedish: svartsnäppa
Folkname: Cambridge Snipe, Spotshank


Interpretation and scientific publications about Spotted Redshank from BTO scientists.


Peer-reviewed papers
Avocet - Amy Lewis

Consequences of population change for local abundance and site occupancy of wintering waterbirds

Wavering Waterbirds

2017 | Méndez, V., Gill, J.A., Alves, J.A., Burton, N.H.K. & Davies, R.G.Diversity and Distributions

Protected sites are assigned based on population statistics for vulnerable and endangered species. This new study using WeBS data shows that changes in population size can affect local abundance, and thus influence whether or not key targets are met for site protection.

Links to more information from

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