Marsh sandpiper

   ›      ›   Marsh sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis

The marsh sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) belongs to the family of sandpipers, the Scolopacidae.

The marsh sandpiper species is distributed in eastern Europe, central Asia, Africa, Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and Australia. These sandpiper species are fully migratory birds. These sandpipers are monotypic species.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Marsh Sandpiper Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The marsh sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) is a small sandpiper, measuring 20 to 25 cm in length and weighing 40 to 120 grams. The wingspan is 55 to 60 cm.

These marsh sandpiper species have grayish brown upperparts in summer and pale gray plumage in winter. The underparts are white. The breast and the throat are white. There is a white supercilium. The head, hinder neck, back and the wings are heavily streaked dark brown.

The bill is long, straight and pointed. The base of the bill is pinkish and the distal end is dark. The irises are blackish. The long legs and feet are pale yellowish green. The call of these sandpiper species is a melodious repeated "tuee-u..tuee-u" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Marsh sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis
1.Birds of India - Image of Marsh sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis by JJ Harrison

Birds of India - Photo of Marsh sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis
2.Indian birds - Picture of Marsh sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis by Dr. Raju Kasambe

Indian birds - Image of Marsh sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis
3.Birds of India - Photo of Marsh sandpiper - Tringa stagnatilis by Charlesjsharp

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The marsh sandpipers are distributed in eastern Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, eastern Mongolia, northeast China, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Persian Gulf, Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and Australia.

In India, the wintering marsh sandpiper populations are distributed in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of these marsh sandpiper species in China are, Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve, Coastal mudflat of Tianjin and Lianyungang saltworks. The IBA in Azerbaijan is Divichi liman (or Lake Akzibir).

The IBA of these marsh sandpipers in Sri Lanka are, Kayts Island-Mandathive, Mundel Lake and Seguwantive mudflats. The IBA in Uganda are Doho Rice Scheme, Syvash Bay and Kibimba Rice Scheme. The IBA in Tanzania is Lake Manyara.

Ecosystem and habitat

These marsh sandpiper species do not normally occur in forests. They normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 100 meters. The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include irrigated lands, flooded pasturelands and aquaculture ponds.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these marsh sandpiper species include wetlands, freshwater lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, estuaries, mudflats, marine lakes, brackish water lakes and lagoons.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of this marsh sandpiper consists mainly of insects and worms. Insects, insect larvae, aquatic insects, worms, crustaceans, snails and small fish are their primary food.

These sandpiper species pick their prey from the ground as well as from the shallow waters. They probe in shallow water or on wet mud with their long sensitive bill to locate the prey.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these marsh sandpipers is from April to June in most of their breeding range. These species are monogamous and breed in loose colonies.

The breeding sites include grassy or marshy lake-edges in warm inland wetlands. The nest is a shallow depression on a mound at the marshy edge. The clutch contains two to four pale buff eggs with heavy mottling. Both the parents incubate the eggs.

Migration and movement patterns

These marsh sandpiper species are mostly migratory birds. The breeding populations in central Asia migrate overland on a broad front to their wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa, southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent, Indonesia and Australia.

These sandpiper species leave their breeding grounds during July and August and arrive at the wintering grounds in September. The return migration to the breeding grounds occur during March and April.

Marsh sandpiper - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Tringa stagnatilis
  • Species author: (Bechstein, 1803)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Totanus stagnatilis Bechstein, 1803
  • Family: Scolopacidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Marsh sandpiper, Chinese: 泽鹬, French: Chevalier stagnatile, German: Teichwasserläufer, Spanish: Archibebe fino, Russian: Поручейник, Japanese: コアオアシシギ, Indonesian: Trinil rawa
  • Other names: Little Greenshank, Marsch Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper
  • Distribution: eastern Europe, central Asia, Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, Australia
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, insect larvae, worms, shrimp, small fish
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the marsh sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) is estimated to be about 260,000 to 1,200,000 individual birds. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be decreasing.

In most of its range, this sandpiper species is reported to be uncommon to rare. The generation length is 5.6 years. Its distribution size is about 14,500,000

Habitat alteration and destruction, ecosystem modifications, pollution, human intrusions and disturbance, hunting for food are the main threats that are endangering the survival of these sandpiper species.

IUCN and CITES status

The marsh sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the sandpiper species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the marsh sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Tringa stagnatilis
Species:T. stagnatilis
Binomial name:Tringa stagnatilis
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The marsh sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) is closely related to common redshank (Tringa totanus) and wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola).
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1.Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: JJ Harrison | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
2.Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: Dr. Raju Kasambe | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
3.Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: Charlesjsharp | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
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