Greenshanks are migratory birds that breed in the subarctic taiga, flying up to 12,000km at a height of up to 5000 metres, day and night, to spend the summer in the southern hemisphere. On intertidal mudflats and fresh and saltwater wetlands they forage day and night, pecking and probing in the shallows for insects, crustaceans, molluscs, worms, amphibians, or eratically dashing and lunging for small fish.
Usually a solitary bird, at high tide they also roost in small flocks. Their flight is rapid, often zigzagging, with a loud ringing call “teu-teu-teu”, or a sharp chip alarm. This is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
Size: length 30 - 35 cm, wingspan 68 - 70 cm
Illustration: Mark Trinham.