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Found around muddy shorelines all year but more common in winter.


Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Redshank: yes red-legs

Post date: Wednesday, 15 January, 2014 - 00:00

With many birds there is something, one specific feature, that stands out. It may a feature of its colouring or perhaps its size, posture, shape, flight, movement on the ground, behaviour, call or song, habitat, anything and quite often a species will display that characteristic and you know straight away what species it is. Find that feature, remember it and you are well on the way impressing your friends with your bird identification skills.

This is an easy one of course, a wader with red legs, it has to be a redshank (Tringa totanus), it can be nothing else.

One days time they used to nest in the damp, boggy areas of our heaths. Many, many years ago I remember my dad taking me to see lapwing and redshank nesting near us in the New Forest. Sadly that is a thing of the past although attempts are being made to encourage them back to nesting again on the Dorset Wildlife Trust reserves at Winfrith Heath and neighbouring Tadnoll. 

In Dorset they can be seen all year round and some do nest here but they are now mainly a winter visitor and are common around our harbours and on the Fleet.

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Redshank
Scientific Name Tringa totanus
Status Frequent
Interest Level
Species Family Sandpipers
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Preferred Environment
  • Mudflats
Look for A wader with bright red legs
Additional Identification Notes
  • Can be seen anytime of year but numbers are significantly boosted by incoming birds during the autumn and winter
  • Can be seen on mudflats feeding at low tide and on saltmarsh during high tides
  • The red legs are diagnostic but note that the rarer (and darker coloured) spotted redshank also has red legs