Gray-tailed Tattler

Tringa brevipes




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Light blue with black speckles.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

24 - 25

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On rocky ground.

Nest Material:

No material added to nest.





Gray-tailed Tattler: Medium-sized sandpiper with gray upperparts and cap that are streaked and speckled with black; white eyebrow and throat; gray streaked breast; dark brown barring seen on white underparts. Wings and tail are long and dark; short yellow legs; short, black bill. Sexes are similar but female is larger. Winter adult has pale gray forehead and back of neck; gray-white flanks; the gray-brown eye stripe runs alongside head from the eye to the bill and is topped with long white eyebrow. Juvenile is like winter adult but with white spots on upperparts.

Range and Habitat

Gray-tailed Tattler: Breeds in northeast Siberia. Occurs as a regular spring and fall migrant on the outer Aleutian Islands, Pribilofs, and St. Lawrence Island, and casually on the Alaskan coast, north to Point Barrow; there are single records from Washington and California. Strongly migratory, spending winter months in Southeast Asia and Australia.

Breeding and Nesting

Gray-tailed Tattler: Breeding grounds for this species are found in stony riverbeds. They are generally ground-nesting birds. Four light blue eggs speckled with black are laid on bare ground sheltered by rocks. They sometimes use an abandoned thrush nest. Incubation ranges from 24 to 25 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Gray-tailed Tattler: They locate their prey by sight and can be seen bobbing and teetering as they dart around, foraging for worms, mollusks, crustaceans, insects and occasionally fish. Before it migrates to its Siberian mating grounds, it is believed that crabs play an increasingly important role in its diet. They forage either alone or in loose groups.


Gray-tailed Tattler: Bold, rising "tu-weeeeeet" call. Alarm call is a sharp "klee-klee."

Similar Species

Gray-tailed Tattler: Wandering Tattler has more distinct bars on underparts and darker gray upperparts.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The area on top of the head of the bird.
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X