Nordmann's Greenshank Tringa guttifer Scientific name definitions

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

Movements and Migration

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Dispersal and Site Fidelity

Natal Philopatry and Dispersal

No detailed information. Of the 9 chicks banded on the species' breeding grounds in Schaste Bay between 2018–2019, none have been resighted in the area again (weak evidence of either low natal philopatry or low survival) (VVP).

Adult Fidelity to Breeding Site and Dispersal

In summer 2019, there were 7 adults caught and individually color-banded in Schaste Bay. Throughout the 2020 breeding period, 5 of those birds were seen again in Schaste Bay; of those 5 birds, 2 remained a pair and nested in consecutive years (VVP).

Fidelity to Migratory Stopover Sites

Since the early 2010s, the species has been regularly observed aggregating in large numbers (up to 1,150) during Fall migration on the mudflats of Rudong, China- specifically Tiaozini Wetland Park, an area widely considered as one of the most important migratory staging and stopover sites for Nordmann's Greenshank and many others species (122, 24, 86). It is uncertain if the species aggregates here due to site fidelity or the lack of a suitable alternative (123).

Fidelity to Overwintering Home Range

Based on observations of individuals using the same overwintering sites year after year, it appears to exhibit high site fidelity on their overwintering grounds (91, 73). In the Inner Gulf of Thailand, they have shown site fidelity to foraging and roosting locations, but limited tagging data (n = 2) also shows they may move up to 10 km within a single overwintering season (92, 112).

Migration Overview

Only a handful of migratory ecology studies have been conducted on the species; thus, the following is based on limited information. The species makes an annual migration from its overwintering grounds in Southeast Asia, through the Yellow Sea, up to the Sea of Okhotsk coast of eastern Russia for the summer breeding season, and back down again for the boreal winter. Northward migration is faster and more abrupt. Southward migration is prolonged, with the species stopping at intermediate staging locations for several weeks and along the Yellow Sea for months; presumably to regain muscle and fat before a final push to their overwintering sites (124).

Timing and Routes of Migration


Leaves breeding grounds in late July through August (43, 125, 124, 49). Hatch-year birds are suspected to leave their natal locations in early September (18, 126). Non-breeding sub-adult birds, or breeding birds with failed nesting attempts, leave breeding grounds in early to mid-July (VPP). Arrives at its overwintering grounds in November or early December, although it has also been recorded in mid-September (127, 93). The species may make an intermediate halt north of its final overwintering destination as many records in the Malaysian Peninsula are not until November (22).


Northward migration from the species’ overwintering grounds begins at the end of February and continues until mid-April (22). Arrives on the eastern Russia breeding grounds in mid to late May (32, 121, 124, 75, 109). The species is usually one of the latest shorebirds to arrive in Malaysia during the fall, and one of the earliest to leave in the spring (74).


More information is needed regarding migratory routes and strategies used by Nordmann’s Greenshank. The species appears to travel along the coast near the breeding grounds and use the Tatar Strait to reach the bays of Khabarovsk Krai, in contrast to many other shorebird species in the area which use an inland Amur River Valley route (128). Similarly, it may migrate along the coast of Sakhalin to reach the northern tip of the island (43). Migratory records suggest that the species’ northward route is on a narrow front passing through China and Korean Peninsula, while the southward route occurs on a broader front, encompassing Yellow Sea countries as well as Japan (129, 70, 118). Sightings of the species along the Thai banks of the Mekong River, in inland Cambodia, and in Assam, India hint at an overland migration across Indochina (98, 73).

Migratory Activity of Satellite-tagged Individuals. To date, 2 individuals have been tagged with satellite transmitters, also known as platform transmitting terminals (PTTs) (130; C. Yu and G. Gale, unpublished data). The first bird, nicknamed “Frankie”, was tagged on 25 March 2016 in the Inner Gulf of Thailand. It departed Thailand on 21 April and traveled 2,700 km non-stop to reach southeastern China. It then spent several weeks traversing north along coastal China. On 20 May, Frankie arrived in Russia, ~100 km from the Sea of Okhotsk, after another non-stop 2,755 km flight from China. There either the tag fell off or Frankie died. During this northward migration, Frankie traveled a total of 5,963 km within one month.

The second bird, “D79”, was captured and tagged in March 2018 within the Inner Gulf of Thailand. D79 stayed in the Inner Gulf until 19 April after which it traveled to coastal southeast China (~1,200 km). It continued north along China’s coast until 28 April, after which it left for coastal South Korea, arriving on 5 May. D79 stayed in South Korea for two weeks until it made a non-stop flight to western Konstantin Bay, Khabarovsk Krai on 22 May (~2,100 km). It stayed there for more than two months, with many points located in an inland larch forest, suggesting a potential nesting attempt. D79 then traveled to eastern Schaste Bay (~275 km) on 8 July and stayed there three weeks, before departing to coastal China in late July. It stayed in Tiaozini, coastal China from 8 August until 1 December (146 d) before returning to the Inner Gulf of Thailand. D79 then spent the winter in the Inner Gulf until 16 April 2019 (136 d) when it began migrating north again. Unfortunately, D79’s transmitter no longer produced any points beyond 23 April 2019 when it was still in coastal southeast China. D79 traveled greater than 12,000 km in a 12-month span.

Migratory Behavior

Little information. Two juveniles observed without adults in Singapore during southward migration caused speculation that adults and their offspring migrate separately (131). The species may also congregate in intraspecific groups during southward migration, but migrate in pairs during northward migration (VVP).

Fidelity to Migratory Routes

No information.

Fidelity to Stopover Sites

No information.

Movement Behavior During Stopover

No information.

Duration of Stopover Period

Based on limited PTT data. Sites between the the main overwintering, staging, and breeding areas are only used temporarily (several hours or days) with exact time periods uncertain (C. Yu and G. Gale, unpublished data).

Duration of Migratory Period

Along the Yellow Sea, peak fall counts occur in September and October, with the average Fall arrival date around 31 July (± 9 days) and average departure date around 23 October (± 16 days), a Fall staging period of ~84 days (132, 76, 70, 24). Limited PTT data from 2018 shows D79 staging near Hwaseong, South Korea for ~13 days during northward migration; in Schaste Bay, Russia for ~20 d during southward migration; and in Tiaozini, southeastern coastal China for 146 d before returning to the Inner Gulf of Thailand for the overwintering period (C. Yu and G. Gale, unpublished data).

Control and Physiology of Migration

No information.

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