A redshank standing amongst seaweed on the edge of the water

Redshank © Tom Marshall


Scientific name: Tringa totanus
The redshank lives up to its name as it sports distinctive long, bright red legs! It feeds and breeds on marshes, mudflats, mires and saltmarshes. Look out for it posing on a fence post or rock.

Species information


Length: 27-29cm
Wingspan: 62cm
Weight: 110-130g
Average lifespan: 4 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 5: the Red List for Birds (2021).

When to see

January to December


The redshank is a large sandpiper with long, bright red legs. It is a typical wader, feeding in shallow water around lakes, marshes, mudflats and coastal wetlands. It breeds on open marshes, mires and saltmarshes, particularly in Scotland and northern England. Look for it typically posed on top of a post, fence or rock in wet grassland or farmland areas.

How to identify

Brownish all over, with a paler belly, the redshank is one of only two waders that has bright red legs; the spotted redshank also has red legs, but is slightly larger, with longer legs and a longer bill. The redshank has a straight bill, which is red at the base and black at the end. When it flies, it shows a white triangular wedge up its back and a wide, white triangle on its rear.


Widespread, but breeding birds are especially prevalent in Scotland and Northern England. Wintering birds can be seen in large numbers around estuaries and coastal wetlands.

Did you know?

Large numbers of redshank fly here from Iceland to spend the winter around our coasts.


Redshank by Tom Hibbert