Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Grey-tailed tattler

Thai: นกตีนเหลือง, nok teen leuang

Binomial name: Tringa brevipes, Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, 1816

The grey-tailed tattler or Polynesian tattler, Tringa brevipes (formerly Heteroscelus brevipes: Pereira & Baker, 2005; Banks et al., 2006), is a small, foraging shorebird in the genus Tringa, and breeds in northeast Siberia. After breeding, they migrate to an area from southeast Asia to Australia.


The grey-tailed tattler is closely related to its North American counterpart, the wandering tattler (T. incana) and is difficult to distinguish from that species. Both tattlers are unique among the species of Tringa for having unpatterned, greyish wings and back, and a scaly breast pattern extending more or less onto the belly in breeding plumage, in which both also have a rather prominent supercilium.

These birds resemble common redshanks in shape and size. The upper parts, underwings, face and neck are grey, and the belly is white. They have short yellowish legs and a bill with a pale base and dark tip. There is a weak supercilium.

They are very similar to their American counterpart, and differentiation depends on details like the length of the nasal groove and scaling on the tarsus. The best distinction is the call; grey-tailed has a disyllabic whistle, and wandering a rippling trill.


Its breeding habitat is stony riverbeds in northeast Siberia. It nests on the ground, but these birds will perch in trees. They sometimes use old nests of other birds as well.

Grey-tailed tattlers are strongly migratory and winter on muddy and sandy coasts from southeast Asia to Australia. They are very rare vagrants to western North America and western Europe. These are not particularly gregarious birds and are seldom seen in large flocks except at roosts.

These birds forage on the ground or water, picking up food by sight. They eat insects, crustaceans and other invertebrates.


Grey-tailed tattlers are not listed as threatened on the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

State of Victoria, Australia
  • The grey-tailed tattler is listed as threatened on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988). Under this Act, an Action Statement for the recovery and future management of this species has not been prepared.
  • On the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, the grey-tailed tattler is listed as critically endangered.

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Scientific classification

Tringa brevipes

Common names

  • English:
    • Gray-tailed tattler
    • Grey-tailed tattler
    • Siberian tattler
    • Siberian grey-tailed tattler
  • French: Chevalier de Sibérie
  • Thai: นกตีนเหลือง, nok teen leuang


  • Tringa brevipes, Les Christidis & Walter E. Boles (2008)
  • Tringa brevipes, AOU Checklist (1998)
  • Tringa brevipes, Charles Gald Sibley & Burt Leavelle Monroe (1990)
  • Tringa brevipes, Evan Graham Turbott (1990)
  • Heteroscelus brevipes, Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot (1816)

Conservation status

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Grey-tailed tattler, Tringa brevipes in Thailand

Range map of Tringa brevipes in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

It is free to use this map on various media. See the creative common license terms by clicking "CC" icon below the map. But remember, again; the map may not be accurate or complete.

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