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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Systematics History

Originally described as Totanus guttifer (Nordmann, 1835), [type locality = Okhotsk, Russia]. Synonyms include Xenus guttifer (1854), Terekia guttifera (1856), Totanus haughtoni (1876), Pseudototanus haughtoni (1876), Pseudototanus guttifer (1884), Pseudoglottis guttifer (1914), and most recently Tringa guttifer (28, 20, 34, 27, 35).

Geographic Variation

No information.



Related Species

Part of subfamily Tringinae, Tringa sandpipers are part of a widespread tribe of sandpipers (Tringini), which is closely related to dowitchers (Limnodromus), woodcocks (Scolopax), and snipes (Gallinago) (36). Tringa sandpipers are loosely categorized by a medium-length bill, and often brightly colored medium-length legs (37). The genus includes 13 species, such as Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca), Common Redshank (Tringa totanus), Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), and Willet (Tringa semipalmata), among others. A study based on morphological characteristics classified Nordmann's Greenshank as sibling species to Willet and Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis), although they report the species is incompletely represented due to its limited range and intermediate phenotype (38). Recent mitochondrial genome sequencing (39) also reported that the species is most closely related to the Willet; however, the authors did not have access to the mitochondrial DNA of Common Greenshank, Lesser Yellowlegs, or Greater Yellowlegs, which are morphologically, geographically, and behaviorally more similar to it. Mitochondrial base composition arrangement is similar to other Charadriiformes (31.7% A, 25.5% T, 29.5% C, and 13.3% G).


The species was named after Alexander von Nordmann, a 19th century Finnish biologist who first described the species during an expedition to the Russian Far East (40). In English, alternate common names include Spotted Greenshank and Armstrong’s Sandpiper. In Russian, the species is known by two common names: Охотский улит (Okhotskiy ulit) – “the shank of the Okhotsk Sea”, and перепончатопалый улит (Pereponchatopaliy ulit)- “Webb-footed Shank” (35). In Latin, the species’ specific epithet guttifer means “to carry spots.”

Fossil History

The Tringini are estimated to have speciated in the late Miocene to early Pliocene epoch; however, no direct fossil history exists (18, 37).

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