Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes


Justification of Red List Category
This species has been uplisted to Near Threatened owing to evidence that it is undergoing a moderately rapid population decline, driven by on-going habitat loss and degradation, disturbance and hunting pressure. This assessment may prove to be conservative, however, and further data may require that the species be uplisted again in the near future. Comprehensive monitoring is therefore needed to better quantify the species's global population trend.

Population justification
The global population in 2007-2009 was estimated to number c.44,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2014), which is assumed here to include c.29,500 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Recent evidence suggests that this species declined overall between 1987 and 2011 (Wetlands International 2014), and an estimated decline of 20-29% has occurred in Australia over 25 years, with some variability in local rates and trends (Garnett et al. 2011). At one key wintering site, Eighty Mile Beach in Western Australia, surveys in December 2008 found 7,950 birds, a decline of c.46% since surveys in 1999 and 2001 (Garnett et al. 2011, MacKinnon et al. 2012). Numbers migrating through Japan in autumn have declined since 1978, and by 57% between c.1983 and c.2007 (Amano et al. 2010). At Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Palawan, Philippines, the average number of birds counted (based on 5-year intervals since 1999) shows a declining trend from 21 individuals in 1999-2003, to 17 individuals in 2004-2008, falling to just 2 individuals in 2009-2013, and the number of birds observed during autumn dropped from 237 individuals in October 1991, to 65 in September 2000 and to just 8 in October 2006 (A. Jensen in litt. 2014). The loss and degradation of wetlands (including pollution, reclamation, and urban and industrial expansion), disturbance and hunting are the main threats at stopover sites and on the wintering grounds (Garnett et al. 2011). These survey data and the knowledge of threats to the species support the suspicion of an overall decline of at least 25-29% over 17 years (estimate of three generations).

Distribution and population

Tringa brevipes breeds in north-central and north-eastern Siberia in the Putorana mountains, from the Verkhoyansk mountains and Transbaikalia east to Anadyrland, and probably in Kamchatka and the North Kuril Islands, Russia, and winters in Taiwan, southern Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, through Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands to Australia, with a few reaching New Zealand, Fiji and Tuvalu (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The global population was estimated to number c.44,000 individuals in 2007-2009 (Wetlands International 2014). Overall the species is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline based on regional survey data and knowledge of threats.


This species breeds in May to late August in northern montane taiga and forest tundra, along rivers and streams and on the stone or pebble shorelines of lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Its nest is usually a shallow depression, often on a stony riverbed, and there are usually four eggs in a clutch.  In the non-breeding season it is found on sheltered coasts with reefs and rock platforms or with intertidal mudflats, as well as shorelines with rocks, shingle, gravel or shells, often roosting in mangroves. On migration, it is predominantly coastal, but may occur at inland wetlands such as paddyfields. On its breeding grounds, it feeds mainly on insects, with its diet in the non-breeding season largely comprising crabs, along with other crustaceans, polychaetes, molluscs, insects and occasionally fish (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


The loss and degradation of wetlands, including from pollution, reclamation, and urban and industrial expansion, as well as disturbance and hunting, form the main threats at stopover sites and on the wintering grounds (Garnett et al. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. This species has been the subject of surveys in various parts of its range. Action is being undertaken to alleviate pressures on a suite of migrant species that use the East Asia-Australia Flyway.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct widespread and coordinated surveys across the species's range to assess its overall population trend. Carry out awareness-raising and education activities to reduce hunting pressure where this is a problem. Work with bird-trappers to develop alternative livelihoods. Increase protected area coverage of habitat used by the species at different stages of its annual cycle. Work with governments and the private sector to reduce development pressure on coastal habitats.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Iqbal, M., Jensen, A. & Verkuil, Y.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Tringa brevipes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2020.