Gray-tailed Tattler – Accepted

1. 23 Jul 1981


vic. Lancaster LA



Fig. 118, ph., AB 35:978


Gray-tailed Tattler – Not accepted, identification not established

09 Oct 1992


Southeast Farallon I. SF




24–26 May 1998


Kehoe Beach, Pt. Reyes MRN



Fig. 119, ph.

30 May 1998


Bodega Head SON




06 Jun 1998


Princeton Harbor SM











Figure 118. California’s only accepted Gray-tailed Tattler record was furnished by this vocal adult in alternate plumage. It was photographed on 23 July 1981 near Lancaster, Los Angeles County (1981-043; Herbert Clarke).



Figure 119. Between 24 and 26 May 1998, coincident with the landmark landfall of numerous Bristle-thighed Curlews along the Pacific coast—an event traced to unusual wind patterns over the northeastern Pacific Ocean—this troubling tattler appeared at Kehoe Beach, Marin County. After four rounds of deliberation, the Committee decided not to endorse the record as pertaining to a Gray-tailed Tattler, citing mainly (a) the bird’s failure to utter loud “too-weet” calls considered diagnostic of this species (although observers described soft, “tu-tu” notes unlike those expected from a Wandering Tattler), (b) potential for overlap in plumage with a first-alternate plumaged Wandering Tattler, and (c) concerns about the difficulty of ascertaining in the field the true extent of the nasal grooves (1998-099; Keith Hansen).






Gray-tailed Tattler

GRAY-TAILED TATTLER Tringa brevipes (Vieillot, 1816)

Accepted: 1 (20%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 4

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 0

Color image: none

This tattler breeds in north-central and northeastern Siberia and winters from Taiwan south to Australia and New Zealand. The species migrates regularly—most numerously in late summer and fall—through the western and central Aleutian Islands and the islands of the Bering Sea, and occurs casually along the coast of mainland Alaska. Accidental records exist for Hawaii, the British Isles, and Washington.

California’s only accepted record of the Gray-tailed Tattler came on 23 July 1981, when an adult in alternate plumage was found giving diagnostic calls near Lancaster in Los Angeles County (Figure 118). After sparking considerable debate among Committee members, the record of a tattler present 24–26 May 1998 at Kehoe Beach in Marin County narrowly failed to garner CBRC endorsement (see Figure 119).

Distinguishing between Wandering and Gray-tailed Tattlers in the field can be very difficult if diagnostic calls are not heard. Criteria identifying these sibling species have been provided by Hayman et al. (1986), Paulson (1986, 1993), Thorpe (1995), Hirst and Proctor (1995), Lehman (2000), Paulson (2005), and O’Brien et al. (2006).