Nordmann's Greenshank Tringa guttifer

Philipp N. Maleko, Vladimir V. Pronkevich, and Konstantin S. Maslovsky
Version: 2.0 — Published February 19, 2021


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The species is a coastal obligate and considered the most dependent on intertidal environments of all Tringa species; individuals only move from the coast when roosting or during migration (91, 73).

Habitat in Breeding Range

Breeding habitat is specialized and the species may require three habitat types for breeding and post-breeding activities in relative close proximity: sparse or “thinned” inland Cajander larch (Larix cajanderi) forest stands for nesting, marshy coastal meadows or lowlands for chick rearing, and intertidal flats for foraging (43, 53, 108, 115, 63, 116, 70, 117, 12, 54, 118, 60). These three habitat types are typically found in shallow lagoons or inlets, often near estuarine deltas, which are particularly productive (18, 119, 116, 120). This habitat requirement may limit the distribution and abundance of Nordmann's Greenshank (41, 70).

Inland larch forest stands are typically 0.5–2.5 km from the coast, separated from the coastal meadow by a transitional hummocky bog or inland tundra, and may be in the vicinity of inland lakes (121, 45, 70, 54). The forest stands are often composed of dwarf Cajander larches with uneven trunks and crooked crowns, and typically contain pockets of wild rosemary sedge (Ledum palustra), dwarf pine (Pinus pumila), rhododendron (Ericaceae spp.), and Middendorf birch (Betula middendorffii), all on a peat moss substrate (18, 44, 41). On Sakhalin Island, the larch forests are an elfin woodland composed of dwarf pine, alder (Alnus spp.), solitary larch trees, bog blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), and crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) often buffered from winds by sand dunes (18).

The coastal meadows and lowlands typically have a mosaic of saltwater, brackish, or freshwater shallow lakes, streams, and small ponds, deep algal canals, and dense marshland vegetation (Agrostis spp., Calamagrostis spp., Elymus spp., Juncus spp., Poa spp., Triglochin spp.), various Carex sedges, as well as dwarf willow (Salix saxatilis), fourleaf mare's tails (Hippuris tetraphylla), and crowberry (18, 44, 117, 54). The state of the coastal meadow is heavily influenced by precipitation, tidal ebbs and flows, strong winds, and temperature (VVP).

The intertidal area on the breeding grounds is varied, often composed of sand, silt, and mud with a patchwork of algal carpets and grasses. At high tide, the area may be completely inundated, while at low tide the tidal range can leave the area exposed by 500–800 m or more. Most often the species is found on flats closest to deltas and river mouths where the area is most productive (117, 18, VVP).

Chick-rearing Habitat

Chicks are reared in a mosaic of small ponds along the coastal meadow adjacent to tidal flats. The mosaic of waterbodies, thick vegetation, and tall grasses provides chicks ample areas to safely forage and hide from potential predators. A 2-week-old chick observed in Schaste Bay was consistently observed near 50-cm-tall live grasses and Carex sedges with many tufts of old dried grass nearby (60).

See also Diet and Foraging: Feeding for microhabitat for feeding.

Habitat in Nonbreeding Range

Overwintering and stopover habitats include estuarine mudflats or sandflats, extensive non-estuarine intertidal flats, and sometimes open sandy beaches (9, 1, 70, 79, 118, 73). A distribution model indicated that the species prefers estuarine deltas with muddy or mixed sandy tidal flats or beaches, and that traditional saltpans in the Inner Gulf of Thailand may play a role in supporting the largest known populations (92, 112). In Assam, India, the species has also been found within inland freshwater wetlands (4).

Roosting Habitat

The availability of suitable natural and artificial supratidal roosting habitats is critical to the species throughout its nonbreeding range (92). Natural roosting sites include mangrove stands and willow beds adjacent to sandy or muddy substrates, and natural saltpans, and artificial areas include commercial saltpans, aquaculture ponds, rice paddies, sea-walls, and even offshore fish-trap bamboo stakes (70, 93, 73). Artificial roosts are typically only used when tidal flats are submerged by high tide. A study of roost-site selection indicated that the species chooses sites depending on proximity to a foraging location (mean 1.10 km ± 0.78), distance from a disturbance such as a road (mean 124 m ± 89), and the presence of Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) (92). The study determined that the species tends to roost at ponds with shallow water (mean 5.8 cm ± 2.4), supporting a hypothesis that they thermoregulate by having their tarsi immersed in cool water (see Behavior: Self-Maintenance) (3). Lastly, the study found that they often stand in the center of a roosting pond with an open view of their surroundings.

See also Diet and Foraging: Feeding for microhabitat for feeding.

Recommended Citation

Maleko, P. N., V. V. Pronkevich, and K. S. Maslovsky (2021). Nordmann's Greenshank (Tringa guttifer), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, P. G. Rodewald, and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.norgre1.02