©Derek Moore


Scientific name: Tringa nebularia
The Greenshank breeds on the boggy moors and ancient peatlands of Scotland. But it can be spotted elsewhere in the UK as it passes through on migration - look around lakes, marshes and the coast.

Species information


Length: 30-35cm
Wingspan: 69cm
Weight: 190g
Average lifespan: 9 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

January to December


A large, elegant sandpiper, the Greenshank feeds in shallow waters, often chasing small invertebrates and fish, which it hunts by sight. During summer, Greenshank are found only on moors and bogs in Scotland, but during migration, they can be found across the UK on inland freshwater lakes and marshes, and coastal wetlands.

How to identify

Greenshank can be distinguished from similar-sized waders like Redshank and godwits by the colour of their legs: grey-green. Adults are olive-grey above and silvery-white below, with dark streaking on the breast. Greenshank have long, slightly upturned, grey bills.


A passage migrant and scarce visitor winter visitor to shallow wetlands inland and around the coast. Nests on the boggy 'flow country' of northern Scotland.

Did you know?

Greenshank breed in the UK, but can also be spotted as they pass through on migration to and from their African wintering grounds.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland and coastal nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.