Proposal (939) to South American Classification Committee



Add Tringa totanus (Common Redshank) to main list


Effect on South American CL: This transfers a species from the Hypothetical List to the Main List.


Background: The Hypothetical List currently summarizes the situation as follows: Sight record from Fernando do Noronha, 3 December 1996 (Schulz-Neto 2004). An image posted of this individual to WikiAves cannot be used to confirm the identity as Tringa totanus and indeed bears a stronger resemblance to a Calidris melanotos (Pectoral Sandpiper) or even a Tringa glareola (Wood Sandpiper) given the strong breastband. Tringa totanus has been widely reported as a vagrant to various parts of the world, including North America, where recorded six times in late winter/spring in Newfoundland (Canada), as well as 16 records in Greenland (Howell et al. 2014) and once to Guadeloupe (eBird) and Ascension Island (Whittaker et al. 2019).


Published photographic record from Ilha Comprida, São Paulo, Brazil: On October 6th, 2013, one individual was found foraging on the beach of Ilha Comprida, south coast of the state of São Paulo (03°51’’S, 32°25’”W), by Fernanda Hoppen. Four photographs of this lone individual submitted on the WikiAves website (Image refs: WA1113217; WA1113969; WA1114002; WA1114022) were identified by Alexander Lees and Alfredo Rocchi as a Common Redshank. One of these photographs was republished (Figure 6) in the latest bird list of Brazil (Pacheco et al. 2021).


Identification: relatively straightforward – a rather compact Tringa sandpiper with brown upperparts and paler underparts with a streaky breast. Red legs and bill base separate it from all other Tringa sandpipers apart from Tringa erythropus (Spotted Redshank), which in winter plumage and a a juvenile shows strong contrast between a dark eye/loral stripe and a short prominent supercilium (poorly marked in totanus) in addition to lacking the strong barring and streaking seen in tetanus.


Literature Cited:

HOWELL, S. N. G., I. LEWINGTON, & W. RUSSELL (2014). Rare Birds of North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, USA & Oxford, UK.

PACHECO, J.F.; SILVEIRA, L.F.; ALEIXO, A.; AGNE, C.E.; BENCKE, G.A.; BRAVO, G.A; BRITO, G.R.R.; COHN-HAFT, M.; MAURÍCIO, G.N.; NAKA, L.N.; OLMOS, F.; POSSO, S.; LEES, A.C.; FIGUEIREDO, L.F.A.; CARRANO, E.; GUEDES, R.C.; CESARI, E.; FRANZ, I.; SCHUNCK, F. & PIACENTINI, V.Q. 2021. Lista comentada das aves do Brasil pelo Comitê Brasileiro de Registros Ornitológicos – segunda edição. Available at:

SCHULZ-NETO, A.  (2004)  Aves insulares do arquipélago de Fernando de Noronha.  Pp.147-168 in (J. O. Branco, Org.) Aves marinhas e insulares brasileiras: bioecologia e conservação. Itajaí, Editora da UNIVALI.

WHITTAKER, A., DA SILVA, J.P.F., LUCIO, B., AND KIRWAN, G.M., 2019. Old World vagrants on Fernando de Noronha, including two additions to the Brazilian avifauna, and predictions for potential future Palearctic vagrants. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 139(3), pp.189-204.



A bird walking on the beach

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Figure 1 - WA1114022.


A bird walking on the beach

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Figure 2 - WA1114002.


A bird walking in the water

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Figure 3 - WA1113969.


A bird on the beach

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Figure 4 - WA1113217.



José Fernando Pacheco, Alexander Lees & Carlos Eduardo Agne, March 2022





Comments from Robbins:  “YES. I vote yes for adding Common Redshank to the list as the photos confirm the identification.”


Comments from Stiles: “YES. the long red legs narrow the options down to Tringa totanus or T. erythropus and the densely spotted underparts definitely exclude the latter - totanus it is!”


Comments from Areta: “YES. I concur with the identification as Tringa totanus. The bill seems to be on the longish end for totanus, but it is relatively broad not as long, slender, and with the drooping tip of erythropus. A picture in flight would have greatly aided to ID this one! The photos in the WikiAves site are much more useful than the ones in the proposal to examine the features of this bird.”


Comments from Pearman (who has Remsen vote): “"YES. Lack of profuse spotting and or pale borders to the dorsal plumage (scapulars, coverts, tertials) indicate that this bird is an adult, which thus immediately rules out the largely similar juvenile Spotted Redshank, which is the  only confusion." 


Comments from Lane: “YES. The images are conclusive.”


Comments from Bonaccorso: “YES. It is definitively not T. glareola (which has yellow feet and base of beak). It does look very much like a juvenile T. erythropus. Still, as mentioned in the proposal, T. erythropus “shows strong contrast between a dark eye/loral stripe and a short prominent supercilium.” I wouldn´t go as far as to say that the contrast is “poorly marked” in T. totanus, but judging from the available photos, it is definitively less marked in T. totanus.”


Comments from Claramunt: “YES. The proposal is convincing; the photographic evidence is sufficient, and the identification seems unambiguous.”