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Wandering Tattler

Silhouette ShorebirdsShorebirds
Wandering TattlerTringa incana
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Scolopacidae

Basic Description

A familiar bird in winter along the Pacific Coast, the Wandering Tattler’s plumage blends with dark gray rocks along the ocean. The tattler’s telltale unsteady gait comes from bobbing its tail as it hunts for insects, small mollusks, and crabs. On their arctic breeding grounds, they wear a snappy plumage of dark gray upperparts and neatly barred underparts. They display and forage along streams but conceal their nests in tundra, far from display areas. On migration, they may wander as far as South Pacific islands, over 7,500 miles away.

More ID Info
image of range map for Wandering Tattler
Year-roundBreedingMigrationNonbreeding
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for Wandering Tattlers from early autumn through early spring along rocky Pacific shorelines. They do not form large flocks, but they sometimes forage with Surfbirds and Black Turnstones. They tend to stay near the water’s edge, feeding on wet rocks exposed by the tide. Because they are often well camouflaged, it is good to learn their loud, ringing call, often the first sign of their presence.

Other Names

  • Playero de Alaska (Spanish)
  • Chevalier errant (French)
  • Cool Facts

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