What a bird! This thin, smoky, rangy 'shank features high on many a list of favourite birds. It is the biggest member of the genus but does not lose out on the elegance stakes. It is grey above and white below with a thin bill slightly tip tilted. The dark wings conceal a white rump which goes up the back for ever.
The call is a ringing triple whistle. This bird breeds right round from Scotland to Kamchatka choosing the taiga, openings in the boreal forest and the marshes at the head of lakes and beside rivers. A few winter on sheltered estuaries or on marshes in Britain but most of these birds migrate South to winter all over sub-Saharan Africa, in India and Far East and round much of coastal Australia where conditions are tight.
Greenshanks feed mostly by picking food items from the water surface or vegetation whilst wading - quite a few actually dash after their prey. In Britain their main concentrated is in the North- Western Highlands and the Hebrides. Probably rather less than 1,500 pairs breed.
A large and elegant pale grey wader with green legs.
Length 315 mm Closed wing 190 mm Weight 190 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead