The tattlers are the two very similar species of bird in the shorebird genus Tringa. They formerly had their own genus, Heteroscelus. They are:
- Grey-tailed Tattler, Tringa brevipes
- Wandering Tattler, T. incana
The old genus name Heteroscelus means “different leg” in Greek, referring to the leg scales that differentiate the genus from others.
Nesting / Breeding
Their breeding habitat is stony riverbeds. They nest on the ground, but these waders will perch in trees and sometimes use old nests of other birds.
They are strongly migratory and winter in the tropics and subtropics on muddy and sandy coasts. These are not particularly gregarious birds and are seldom seen in large flocks except at roosts.
These very similar birds resemble Common Redshanks in shape and size. The upper parts, underwings, face and neck are grey, and the belly is white. They have short yellowish legs and a bill with a pale base and dark tip. There is a weak supercilium (line above eye).
Differentiation between the two species depends on details like the length of the nasal groove and scaling on the tarsus. The best distinction is the call; Grey-tailed has a disyllabic whistle, and Wandering a rippling trill.
Diet / Feeding
These birds forage on the ground or water, picking up food by sight. They eat insects, crustaceans and other invertebrates.