SPECIES

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

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Breeding adult
Nonbreeding adult
Nonbreeding adult
Breeding adult
Nonbreeding adult
Nonbreeding adult
Nonbreeding adult
Nordmann's Greenshank.

Medium to large-sized Tringa sandpiper. Note, slightly upturned bill and yellowish-green legs. In Basic and Formative (nonbreeding) plumages, it has clean white underparts that contrast with grayish upperparts.

Composite comparing Nordmann's Greenshank (right) with Common Greenshank (left) in flight.

The most reliable distinguishing in-flight characteristic is the extent of toe projection beyond the tail: Nordmann’s Greenshank toes project just slightly, while Common Greenshank toes project significantly. The marginally broader-based wings of Nordmann’s Greenshank give it a stockier in-flight appearance. In addition, Nordmann’s Greenshank has clean white underwing coverts that contrast the slightly darker primaries and secondaries and form a diagnostic white armpit; noticeably different to the dark and lightly barred underwings of Common Greenshank.

In flight.

white rump, white lower back, and white uppertail coverts which contrast the darker mantle and upper wings creating a white wedge on the lower back.

Lateral view in flight.

Note, clean white underwing coverts that contrast the slightly darker primaries and secondaries and form a diagnostic white armpit; noticeably different to the dark and lightly barred underwings of Common Greenshank.

In flight.
In flight.
A Nordmann’s Greenshank in a group of Common Redshank, Asian Dowitchers, and Great Knot.
Chick (2-5 days old).
Chicks (2-5 days old) back stripes.
Chick (2-5 days old) back stripes.
Chick (2-5 days old).
Fledgling (about 6 weeks old).
Fledgling (about 6 weeks old).
Fledgling (about 6 weeks old).
A group of Nordmann’s Greenshanks in winter plumage. Likely subadults due to the highly bicolored bill.
Birds in possible formative plumage.
Lateral view in basic plumage.

Crown, nape, lores, ear coverts, and hindneck pale, usually washed gray or off-white, with the crown, nape, and hindneck lightly, almost indistinguishably, streaked ash gray. The supercilium is off-white and more prominent in front of the eye, creating a distinct white forehead.

Lateral view in flight (basic plumage).

The scapulars, upper wing coverts, and tertials are uniform pale ash gray with narrow white fringing and contrast the darker lesser coverts and primaries. All underparts, from the chin to the undertail coverts, are clean white and unmarked, although rarely some faint brown smudging on the sides of the breast is present.

Dorsall view in flight (basic plumage).

The mantle is also pale ash gray but lacks any subterminal fringing. The lower part of the axillaries, wing lining, and rump are white. The tail is also pure white or pale gray, with outer rectrices sometimes lightly barred.

Lateral view of early-season alternate plumage.
Frontal view of early-season alternate plumage.
Lateral view of mid-season alternate plumage.
Frontal view of mid-season alternate plumage.
Late-season lateral view in alternate plumage.
Late-season dorsal wing detail in alternate plumage.
Late-season dorsal view of back and tail in alternate plumage.
Late-season lateral view in definitive alternate plumage.
Late-season head detail in alternate plumage.
Molting into Alternate Plumage.
Molting Nordmann’s Greenshanks in coastal China.
Head detail.

Bill thick, blunt, and slightly upturned, with the upper and lower mandibles parallel up to the gonys. Frequently noted as having a two-toned bill, with a light grayish-green to yellow base on the lower mandible and sooty black elsewhere, though this is not always the case. Bill coloration may vary according to season and age.

Head detail in Alternate Plumage.
Foot detail, showing distinctive webbing.

Legs tend to be light ochre or greenish-yellow with a slight greenish tinge, becoming brighter from the tibia to the feet. Nails are gray-black. The species has distinct, well-developed webbing between toes.

Foot detail, showing distinctive webbing.
Mouth of River Zimnick with a mosaic of ponds in the coastal meadow.
Drone image of the Habitats of Schaste Bay: inland larch forests, inland bog, riparian forest band, coastal meadow, intertidal flat, and Sea of Okhotsk coast.
Inland larch forest patch with small dispersed larch trees.
Edge of a Larch forest stand with dispersed larch trees and a section of the inland bog.
A small Carex spp. island on the intertidal flat of Schaste Bay where a brood was hiding and feeding.
Inland bog separating the coastal meadow from the ilarch forest, with dispersed larches.
Fledgling in typical chick-rearing habitat.
Adult hiding its brood in tall grass.
Fledgling (about 20-25 days old) on the intertidal flat.
Pair near a brood.
Adult near a brood.
Adult in mid-season Alternate Plumage in chick-rearing habitat.
Fledgling foraging on an intertidal flat.
Example of nonbreeding habitat: Phetchaburi, Thailand.
Example of nonbreeding habitat: Tainan City, Taiwan.
Example of man-made structure used as roosting site.
Example of man-made structure used as roosting site.
Example of man-made structure used as roosting site.
A group of 22 Nordmann’s Greenshank (>1% of the world’s population) staging in Schaste Bay, Russia during migration.
Foraging habitat for a pair on the breeding grounds during high tide: flooded coastal meadow.
Foraging habitat on the breeding grounds during high tide: flooded coastal meadow.
Foraging habitat for a pair on the breeding grounds during low tide: Intertidal flat.
Foraging Adult.
Foraging habitat of a group of migrating Nordmann’s Greenshank.
Processing a crab.
Processing a crab.
Processing a crab.
Consuming a ninespine stickleback (Pungitius pungitius).
Scat containing ninespine stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) roe.
One Nordmann’s Greenshank chasing another from its foraging territory and mate.
Nordmann’s Greenshank roosting with a Gray Plover, Great Knot, and a group of Terek Sandpipers on an man-made structure.
Nest being depredated by a Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos).
Perching on tree, acting as a sentinel in its nesting territory.
Perching on tree, acting as a sentinel in its nesting territory.

Note, dispersed larch forest.

Adult on a nest.
Nest and eggs. Photo taken from the tree-trunk, with a view of the surrounding habitat structure.
Nest with eggs.
Nest with eggs.
Nest.
Nest.
Nest.
Inland bog with dispersed larch trees and the larch forest stand where Nest #6 was found.
Larch trees with a nest.
Close up of nest topside.
Nest from above without eggs.
Nest with eggs.
Nest from the side.
Nest from below.
Nest.
Close up of eggs.

Eggs blue green with dispersed ash gray, dark or light chocolate-brown spots.

Nest with eggs.
Nest with eggs.
Evident brood patch on a banded adult V2 (Yellow/Red).
Adult watching for nest predators in its nesting territory.
Adult watching for nest predators in its nesting territory.
Adult watching for nest predators in its nesting territory.
Adults switching off incubation bouts
Adult incubating nest.
Adult about to incubate a nest.
Adult about to incubate a nest.
Adult about to incubate a nest.
Adult perching on an elevated structure on the coastal meadow to watch for predators and broods simultaneously.
Adult perching on an elevated structure on the coastal meadow to watch for predators and broods simultaneously.
Drone image of early-season coastal meadow and tidal flat. Notice the many passenger tank tracks crossing the habitat.
Coastal Meadow during high tide. Notice the many passenger tank tracks causing water to pool in bands.
Banded adult P3 (light blue/green).
V1 (light blue/yellow).
V1 (light blue/yellow) near a brood.
Banded adult V1 (light blue/yellow).
Nest print.

Art by McKinna Salinas.

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