Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population is estimated to number c.3,100,000-3,500,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated at 763,000-1,520,000 pairs, which equates to 1,530,000-3,040,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). National population estimates include: c.100,000-1 million breeding pairs, >c.10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China; c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-1 million breeding pairs and >c.1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2015). Between 1980 and 2013 the European population trend was estimated to be stable (EBCC 2015).


Behaviour This species is a full migrant, travelling overland on a broad front across Europe and the Middle East (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The adults start to move away from the breeding grounds in late-June, with juveniles following in late-August, arriving in tropical Africa from late-July through August to October (Snow and Perrins 1998). On this southern migration many birds frequent stop-over sites to the north of the Mediterranean (especially in France and Italy), after which they overfly the Sahara (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Spring departure from the wintering grounds begins in late-March to early-April (Snow and Perrins 1998), with breeding areas starting to be reoccupied from late-April (early June in northern Russia) (Snow and Perrins 1998), and with breeding occurring between May and mid-July (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Some non-breeding birds may also remain in the south throughout the summer (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species nests in well-dispersed solitary pairs (from 1-10 pairs per km2 to 50 pairs per km2 in forest tundra) (del Hoyo et al. 1996), but in winter it may occur in small scattered groups or larger flocks (20-50 individuals), and concentrations can exceed 1,000 individuals on migration (Urban et al. 1986). Habitat Breeding During the breeding season this species inhabits open, swampy areas in boreal forest (del Hoyo et al. 1996), scrubland between tundra and coniferous forest with willow, dwarf birch or spruce (Snow and Perrins 1998), wet heathlands, and extensive mossy, sedgy or grassy marshes (Snow and Perrins 1998). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season this species is less associated with woodlands, being more commonly found in open areas such as the margins of inland freshwater lakes and reservoirs (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996), muddy marshlands, grassy stream banks, sewage farms, wet paddyfields, small temporary pools (del Hoyo et al. 1996), permanent swamps, flooded grassland and irrigation channels (Urban et al. 1986). It rarely occurs in coastal habitats, but may be found along the creeks of saltmarshes and mangrove swamps (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Breeding Whilst on the breeding grounds this species is chiefly carnivorous, taking small insects (up to 2 cm long), especially the aquatic forms such as dytiscid or hydrophilid beetles, Hemiptera and the larvae of Diptera such as midges (Johnsgard 1981). Non-breeding During the non-breeding season the species has a more varied diet consisting of aquatic and terrestrial insects and their larvae, worms, spiders, crustaceans, gastropod molluscs, small fish (up to 2 cm long) and frogs, as well as plant matter such as seeds (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a scrape on the ground amongst dense vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998) or raised on a tussock or slight ridge, and can sometimes be surrounded by water (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species may also nest in trees in the abandoned nests of other species (del Hoyo et al. 1996) such as thrushes (Snow and Perrins 1998).


The species is threatened in some European countries (such as Finland) from exploitation, and peatland drainage and destruction for forestry and agriculture (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The populations in southern Sweden, Germany and Poland have also declined, possibly due to the threats of climatic change (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species is susceptible to both avian botulism (Hubalek et al. 2005) and avian malaria (Mendes et al. 2005), so may be threatened by future outbreaks of these diseases.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The following information refers to the species's European range only: The species is listed on Annex I of the EU Birds Directive and Annex II of the Bern Convention.

Conservation Actions Proposed
The following information refers to the species's European range only: Intensive grazing of grassland (>1 cow per hectare) was found to attract a higher abundance of this species in Hungary (Baldi et al. 2005).


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Tringa glareola. Downloaded from on 25/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/02/2024.