Updated: Jan 21, 2021
A Spotted Greenshank looking for its next meal. Find the original here.
Population Size: 600-1,300 ↓DECREASING↓
In the Eastern Hemisphere, there flies a type of bird endangered by expansion and human infrastructure. The Spotted Greenshank or Nordmann’s Greenshank (Tringa guttifer) is a small bird currently endangered due to the expansion of the oil industry and reclamation in Russia and Asia. Typically, the Spotted Greenshank resides in Southeastern Asia, China, Russia, South Korea, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and many more countries along coasts of Asia, though its geographic range is not fully understood yet. The bird appears around 1 foot tall or between 26 and 30 cm and weighs about 1/3 lb or 158 grams. Besides the white spots on their brown feathers, their bi-colored bill and long legs distinguish these birds among other greenshanks.
The Spotted Greenshank prefers to migrate to the eastern coasts of Russia near Siberia for breeding. This bird will usually breed in sparse larch Larix forest within coastal meadows and near mudflats for adults to feed. During the breeding season, they will target small crustaceans like crabs, fish like sticklebacks (Pingitius), and algae by probing their heads in the water. Because these first and second level consumers could easily grow out of control without a predator to regulate their populations, the Spotted Greenshank plays an important role of regulating the prey’s growth. Thus, it helps maintain the coastlands for its breeding season and for the diversity of the ecosystem.
The biggest threat against this species is currently the danger posed to the breeding grounds in Russia. With the dramatic rise of eastern countries in the drilling and consumption of oil, the oil industry risks compromising the breeding ground of the Spotted Greenshank. In Russia, 90% of the breeding range remains unprotected, and much of the breeding sites are projected to soon be replaced by pipeline construction. In addition, the grazing reindeer Rangifer tarandus degrade areas suitable for the Spotted Greenshank, and hunting further circumscribes the breeding grounds of this bird.
The threat to the Spotted Greenshank doesn’t just stop at its breeding ground. For over 25 years, South Korea’s intertidal wetlands have diminished over 50% from reclamation, devastating the residential Spotted Greenshank in that area. Moreover, reclamation projects in Rudong, China, assumed to be a significant staging ground, severely damages the stability of the local populations as land once suitable for their survival becomes suitable for human use and waste.
Written by — Edward Keenan
The Spotted Greenshank’s call sounds like a loud “gwaak”
They are closely related to the Sandpipers in North America
Spotted Greenshanks are classified as a shank or birds with a medium-sized bill and long legs that hunt in water
How You Can Help
To aid endangered birds in South Korea, Birds Korea aims at restoring land in Korea and near the Yellow Sea for birds and provides surveys for scientists to better understand birds like the Spotted Greenshank. Research the website and follow it (donations are possible too but they require a check to be mailed rather than directly donating on the site).
The website “Save the Spotted Greenshank” is dedicated to helping this amazing bird primarily by informing readers and providing ways to help the bird. Donate to help the Spotted Greenshank avoid extinction.
Through their efforts, the World Wildlife Fund allocates donations to aid endangered species across the world. Donate to the fund and help birds like the Spotted Greenshank.
Link to Videos, Photos, and Sounds of the Spotted Greenshank