Green Sandpiper

Green sandpiper

Green sandpiper ©John Bridges

Green Sandpiper

Scientific name: Tringa ochropus
The Green Sandpiper is a rare breeding bird in the UK, and is mainly seen when it visits in winter. Look out for it feeding around marshes, flooded gravel pits and rivers. It even likes sewage works!

Species information


Length: 21-24cm
Wingspan: 59cm
Weight: 75g
Average lifespan: up to 10 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

July to March


The Green Sandpiper is a medium-sized, elegant bird that can be spotted feeding around the edge of freshwater marshes, lakes, flooded gravel pits and rivers. It rarely uses its bill for probing the mud, but prefers to pick invertebrates from the surface of the water. It bobs up and down when standing and will fly-off in a zig-zag pattern when disturbed.

How to identify

Sandpipers can be a difficult group of birds to get to grips with. Green sandpipers are blackish-green above, with a bright white belly and a white rump. They are most similar to Wood Sandpipers and Common Sandpipers, but are much darker than both. They have medium-length, straight, black bills and dark green legs.


A passage migrant and winter visitor to inland wetlands in England and Wales.

Did you know?

Green Sandpipers nest in trees, using old Song Thrush or Crow nests, or squirrel dreys.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.