Wandering Tattler

The Wandering Tattler, Tringa incana (formerly Heteroscelus incanus: Pereira and 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 (line above eye).

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.

Wandering Tattler

Adults in breeding plumage are heavily barred underneath.

Distribution / Range

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.

Wandering Tattler

Diet / Feeding

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.

Wandering Tattler forging for food

Wandering Tattler, Tringa incana

Breeding / Nesting

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.

Call / Vocalization

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

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