The common greenshank (Tringa nebularia) is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae, the typical waders. The genus name Tringa is the New Latin name given to the green sandpiper by Aldrovandus in 1599 based on Ancient Greek trungas, a thrush-sized, white-rumped, tail-bobbing wading bird mentioned by Aristotle. The specific nebularia is from Latin nebula "mist". Like the Norwegian Skoddefoll, this refers to the greenshank's damp marshy habitat.
Description & appearanceCommon greenshanks are brown in breeding plumage, and grey-brown in winter. When in water, they can appear very similar to marsh sandpipers but are distinguished by the shape of the lower bill which gives it an upturned appearance to the bill. They have long greenish legs and a long bill with a grey base. They show a white wedge on the back in flight. They are somewhat larger than the related common redshank.
Voice, singing & callThe usual call is a rapid series of three short fluty notes syllabilized as teu-teu-teu.
Distribution & habitatThis is a subarctic bird, breeding from northern Scotland eastwards across northern Europe and east across the Palearctic. It is a migratory species, wintering in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Australasia, usually on fresh water.
Hunting & foodLike most waders, they feed on small invertebrates, but will also take small fish and amphibians.
Breeding, mating, chicks, juveniles & raiseIt breeds on dry ground near marshy areas, laying about four eggs in a ground scrape.