Picture of someone measuring the wingspan of a Greenshank


Greenshank facts: What do they look like? How long do they live? These questions and more are answered in this section.

Table of facts on the Greenshank
Latin name Tringa nebularia.
Length 30-35cm long.
Weight 155-280g (birds weighed in autumn in Langstone Harbour. Juveniles average less than adults).
Colour Grey-brown plumage on back and upper wings with white fringes giving a scaly appearance. The head and neck are finely patterned with white and grey-green streaks. The under parts are almost entirely white. One of the key identification features is the white rump extending up the back and mantle, seen as a white V separating the wings in flight. No wing bar. Barred tail.
Legs Long grey-green legs.
Bill Slightly upturned. Range in size from 48-63mm, average 55mm (Farlington Ringing Group data).
Wingspan 68-70cm.
Number of eggs 4.
Incubation period 23-26 days.
Fledging 25-31 days.
Maximum lifespan The record holder is a Dutch ringed bird at 24 years and 5 months.
Call "tew-tew-tew" or a snapping "krieup-krieup" in distress.

Audio example of the Greenshank call. (Requires Flash plugin)
Recordings courtesy of the British Library Sound Archive
Song Audio example of the Greenshank song. (Requires Flash plugin)
Recordings courtesy of the British Library Sound Archive
Watch Video

Film of Greenshanks in Chichester Harbour including colour-ringed and radio-tagged birds.
Footage courtesy of Jim Wilson - www.irishwildlife.net

International names "Groenpootruiter" in Dutch, "Grunschenkel" in German, "Hvidklire" in Danish, "Chevalier aboyeur" in French.
UK breeding population 1,100-1,600 pairs.
UK wintering population 600 birds.
UK passage population 4,800 birds (autumn).

Get Flash PlayerPlease Note: The above audio clips in "Call" and "Song" require Macromedia Flash player , you can download the free Flash plugin here.