Green-legged Long Shank
Status: Winter visitor to estuaries from September to April from Scotland and Scandinavia.
Conservation Concern: Amber-listed due to its (potentially) small breeding population in Ireland. The European population is considered to be Secure.
Identification: A distinctive long-legged, long-billed wader, quite large, very white looking at long range, with dark wings. Bill straight with a very slight upturn. Legs a washed out grayish green. In flight, quite long-winged, shows no wingbar - just plain, blackish wings, contrasting with a long white rump and back. Not very common - typically seen singly or in very small groups.
Call: A loud "tew, tew, tew", usually calls in flight.
Diet: Feed mostly in deep water sites, channels, brackish pools and lakes, predominantly on invertebrates, particularly shrimps, crabs and Hediste sp., and small fish. They have a variety of feeding techniques, though mostly feed by pecking at the mud, water or vegetation, and catch fish by using a dash-and-lunge technique
Breeding: There have been occasional sightings of birds in suitable habitat (BoCCI listing), and one pair was confirmed to have bred in Co. Mayo on at least 2 occasions during the early 1970's (Irish Birds 1: 236-238, 1978). The main breeding range in Europe extends from pool-dominated and boulder-shrewn bogland areas of Scotland to Scots Pine woods in Scandinavia.
Wintering: Mostly coastal distribution - while the majority are found on estuaries, up to 30% are estimated to winter along non-estuarine coast.
Where to See: Shannon & Fergus Estuary in County Clare, Strangford Lough in County Down, Lough Swilly in County Donegal and Cork Harbour in County Cork all regularly support >50 birds.
Monitored by: Irish Wetland Bird Survey.