Wandering Tattler

Wandering Tattler
Wandering Tattler
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Tringa
Species: T. incana
Binomial name
Tringa incana
(Gmelin, 1789)

Heteractitis incanus
Heteroscelus incanus

The Wandering Tattler, Tringa incana (formerly Heteroscelus incanus: Pereira & Baker, 2005; Banks et al., 2006), is a medium-sized wading bird. It is similar in appearance to the closely related Gray-tailed Tattler, T. brevipes. The tattlers are unique among the species of Tringa for having unpatterned, greyish wings and backs, and a scaly breast pattern extending more or less onto the belly in breeding plumage, in which both also have a rather prominent supercilium.

Wandering Tattler on Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia

These birds have stocky bodies with gray upperparts, underwings, face and neck and a white belly. They have short dark yellow legs and a dark gray bill. Adults in breeding plumage are heavily barred underneath.

In summer, they are found in Alaska and northwestern Canada. They nest in rocky areas along mountain streams. At other times, they are found on rocky islands in the southwest Pacific and on rocky Pacific coasts from California to South America and as far as Australia.

They feed on aquatic invertebrates such as crustaceans and marine worms. During breeding season, they also eat insects. While wading, they forage actively, making jerky bobbing movements.

The female lays 4 olive-colored eggs in a shallow depression. Both parents incubate and help feed the young, who are soon able to forage for themselves.

The call is a rapid trill of accelerating, descending notes of decreasing volume.

Point Cartwright, SE Queensland, Australia


  • Banks, Richard C.; Cicero, Carla; Dunn, Jon L.; Kratter, Andrew W.; Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Remsen, J. V. Jr.; Rising, James D. & Stotz, Douglas F. (2006): Forty-seventh Supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. Auk 123(3): 926–936. DOI: 10.1642/0004-8038(2006)123[926:FSTTAO]2.0.CO;2 PDF fulltext
  • BirdLife International (2004). Heteroscelus incanus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 10 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Pereira, Sérgio Luiz & Baker, Alan J. (2005): Multiple Gene Evidence for Parallel Evolution and Retention of Ancestral Morphological States in the Shanks (Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae). Condor 107(3): 514–526. DOI: 10.1650/0010-5422(2005)107[0514:MGEFPE]2.0.CO;2 HTML abstract

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Look at other dictionaries:

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