[order] Charadriiformes | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Tringa ochropus | [UK] Green Sandpiper | [FR] Chevalier cul-blanc | [DE] Waldwasserläufer | [ES] Andarríos Grande | [IT] Piro-piro culbianco | [NL] Witgat

Witgat determination

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Medium-sized and dark Tringa. Very similar to T. glareola but larger and darker, tail white with four thick black bars. Foreneck, breast and upper flanks streaked grey-brown and underparts white. Female averages larger. Non-breeding adult has less spotted upperparts and face, foreneck and center of breast whiter.

Damp wooded areas, in swampy woodland and mountain pine or spruce forest. In vicinity of trees, in variety of inland fresh waters, such as marshes, riverbanks, small ponds and narrow ditches, with protective vegetation.

Tringa ochropus is a widespread breeder in northern and central Europe, which accounts for less than half of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is large (>330,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. The species remained stable overall during 1990-2000, with all national trends either stable, fluctuating (as in the Russian stronghold) or increasing.

Diet includes aquatic and terrestrial insects, mainly beetles, but also dragonfly, ants, water-bugs and moth larvae, small crustaceans, fish and plant fragments. Mainly pecks food from shallow water and from surface of ground and plants.Sometimes uses trampling to stir up food, and sometimes wades or swims, and even dives. Usually feeds singly, sometimes in small, scattered groups.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 1,200,000-4,000,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2002). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Egg laying from April to May. pair bond is Monogamous. Usually uses old tree nests of other bird species, normally with little modification, sometimes on natural platform. 4 eggs are laid incubated for 20-23 days, by both sexes. Chicks are pale drab grey marked fuscous black, with dark line across and along crown and tail. Both sexes tend chicks at first, but female may leave before fledging.

Migratory. As an essentially freshwater species, migrates overland on broad front, spanning full width of west Palearctic (scarcest in extreme west). In general without large concentrations either on passage or at staging areas; aggregations of over 50 unusual. Winters sparingly in western and west-central Europe, even in southern Scandinavia in mild seasons. Main winter range, however, lies in Mediterranean basin and Africa, and across southern Asia from Turkey and Iran to eastern China and Philippines. In Africa, recorded south to Cape Province and Madagascar, though uncommon south of Gulf of Guinea in the west and Zambia in the east; sightings from oases and Sahel zone indicate broad-front crossings of Sahara. A particularly early migrant, with southward passage beginning about 10 June in Finland, adult females preceding males; in second half June, first migrants reach all countries of north-west and central Europe, where main passage July-August. First arrivals south of Sahara early August, though not common there until September. Spring passage begins March or early April, and virtually completed by mid-May.