Common Greenshank – Accepted

1. 27 Aug–17 Sep 2001


Mad R. mouth HUM



Figs. 117, 221, ph., NAB 56:101, 126, cover of WB 33(1), Paulson (2005)

and 18–25 Oct 2002


Arcata HUM





Common Greenshank – Not accepted, identification not established

01 Dec 1993


Chico BUT




11 May 2003


Hayward Regional Shoreline ALA











Figure 117. The Common Greenshank can be challenging to distinguish from a Greater Yellowlegs—until it flies! This first-fall bird, the first to be detected in the 48 contiguous states, was recorded in Humboldt County during successive falls. This photograph was taken at the mouth of the Mad River on 27 August 2001, the day of its discovery (2001-137; Ron LeValley).



Figure 221. Greenish legs and a lightly streaked neck help to distinguish this first-fall Common Greenshank—a first for the coterminous United States—from the abundant Greater Yellowlegs. These species are much easier to tell apart in flight (see Figure 117 on page 163). This bird was photographed on 31 August 2001 at the mouth of the Mad River, Humboldt County (2001-137; Larry Sansone).






Common Greenshank

COMMON GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia (Gunnerus, 1767)

Accepted: 1 (33%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 2

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 0

Large color image: see Figures

This large sandpiper breeds from Scotland across northern Eurasia to Kamchatka. The species winters locally from the British Isles to South Africa, in the Middle East, across Southeast Asia, and in Australia. In Alaska, migrants are considered rare but regular through the western Aleutian Islands, very rare east to the Pribilofs, and casual north to St. Lawrence Island; most records are from spring. Mlodinow (1999c) reviewed this species’ status in the New World, including records from Quebec, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia, and four from Barbados. A Florida record by J. J. Audubon is considered questionable (AOU 1998).

The only CBRC-endorsed record of a Common Greenshank refers to a first-fall bird present from 27 August to 17 September 2001 at the Mad River estuary in Humboldt County. An adult that frequented nearby Arcata Marsh from 18 to 25 October of the ensuing fall was judged to be the same individual. Excellent photographs (see Figures 117, 221) and direct field comparisons of this bird with yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca and T. flavipes) eliminated the possibility of Nordmann’s Greenshank (T. guttifer), a rare species that breeds locally on Sakhalin.