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Marsh Sandpiper - BirdForum Opus

Breeding Plumage
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Basai Wetlands, Gugaon, Haryana, India, 31 March 2015
Tringa stagnatilis


Winter plumage
Photo © by Steve G
S'Albufera de Mallorca, Spain, October 2003

22-26 cm length, 55-59 cm wingspan, 50-120 g weight.
Long, slender, black bill, long spindly yellowish-green legs, grey brown with white underparts slightly streaked brownish in breeding plumage, paler in winter with pure white underparts, and has a white wedge up its back (reminiscent of Common Greenshank). Wings uniform grey-brown, with no wingbar. Due to early moult, Marsh Sandpiper will often look considerably paler than other Tringa sandpipers in late summer. Feet project well beyond the tail in flight.

Similar species

Common Greenshank is the main confusion species, differing in its larger size, and stouter, slightly upcurved bill with a pale base. When dealing with vagrants, Lesser Yellowlegs also needs to be considered because of its similar structure, though differing in bright chrome-yellow legs and a smaller, square white rump, not a long wedge. At long range, winter plumage Marsh Sandpipers can look surprisingly similar to (particularly juvenile) Black-winged Stilts.


Summer plumage
Photo © by aritervo
Finland June 24, 2007

Breeds in easternmost Europe to central Asia (locally in Poland and Belarus, widespread from eastern Ukraine east across Russia and northern Kazakhstan, and locally in Mongolia and northern China), migrating to winter in sub-saharan Africa (west to Senegal and south to South Africa), southern Asia and Australia. Vagrants occur west to Ireland in western Europe and east to Japan in Asia, and with a very few records in North America.


This is a monotypic species[2].


Open grassy steppe and taiga wetlands.


These birds forage by probing in shallow water or on wet mud.


Diet includes insects, and similar small prey.



  1. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  3. Avibase

Recommended Citation

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