Spotted Redshank

As the cool breeze rustles through the reeds, a striking bird wades in the shallow waters, its slender legs moving with grace and purpose. Its plumage, a mix of white and ash-grey, is interrupted by bursts of vibrant red, as if someone had splashed paint on its feathers. This is the Spotted Redshank, a bird that embodies both elegance and boldness, a true marvel of nature. With its long, thin beak and piercing gaze, it searches for prey, ready to strike at any moment. Oh, how lucky are we to witness such a spectacle of beauty and power in the wild.

Bird CharacteristicDescription
Common NameSpotted Redshank
Scientific NameTringa erythropus
Colour (s)Black, white, and grey
Average Length29-32 cm
Average Height30-35 cm
Weight95-220 g
Type of BirdWetlands
Origin country (ies)Northern Eurasia
Month it comes to IndiaAugust to March
Location in IndiaCoastal wetlands
IUCN statusLeast Concern


The Spotted Redshank is a wading bird that belongs to the sandpiper family. It is known for its striking appearance, with distinct physical features that set it apart from other birds in its family.

The Spotted Redshank has a sleek and slender body, which measures about 29-32 cm (11-12.5 inches) in length. It has long, bright red legs that allow it to wade through shallow waters with ease, while its wingspan stretches to around 63-67 cm (25-26 inches).

The plumage of the Spotted Redshank varies depending on the season. During the breeding season, it has jet black feathers with white spots on its wings and back, giving it a striking appearance. In the non-breeding season, its plumage transforms into a duller greyish-brown colour, making it less conspicuous in its surroundings.

The Spotted Redshank is a relatively light bird, weighing between 110-170 grams (3.9-6 ounces) on average. Despite its light weight, it is a fast flier, with a top speed of up to 60 km/h (37 mph) when in flight.

In terms of habitat, the Spotted Redshank prefers wetland areas such as marshes, mudflats, and shallow ponds, where it feeds on small invertebrates such as crustaceans, insects, and mollusks. Its long, thin bill is perfectly adapted for probing into the mud and sand to catch its prey.

Habitat and Food

It prefers marshes, swamps, mudflats, and shallow lakes or ponds, often in close proximity to the coast. In terms of diet, the Spotted Redshank is primarily a carnivore, feeding on a variety of small aquatic animals such as insects, crustaceans, and mollusks. It uses its long, thin bill to probe the mud and water for prey, and may also catch insects in the air.

Interestingly, the Spotted Redshank has a unique feeding strategy called “foot-trembling,” where it rapidly taps its feet on the ground to stir up insects from the soil. This behavior has been observed in other wading birds as well, but is especially pronounced in the Spotted Redshank.


The Spotted Redshank is a wading bird that breeds in the northern parts of Europe and Asia, with their breeding range extending from Scandinavia to Siberia. During the non-breeding season, they migrate to southern Asia, including India, Southeast Asia, and Australia.

Spotted Redshanks typically arrive in India between August and September and stay until March or early April, making India an important wintering ground for these birds. They can be found in various states across India, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The primary purpose of their migration to India is for feeding and resting. During their wintering period in India, Spotted Redshanks can be found in wetlands, mudflats, and estuaries, where they feed on a variety of invertebrates such as insects, crustaceans, and mollusks.

In terms of their departure from India, Spotted Redshanks typically begin their migration back to their breeding grounds in northern Europe and Asia in March or April, before the start of the breeding season. They travel long distances, often covering thousands of kilometers, to reach their breeding grounds.

IUCN Status

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Spotted Redshank is currently listed as a species of “Least Concern”. This means that the species is not considered to be at significant risk of extinction at the global level, although localized declines or threats may exist in certain regions or populations.

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