The family, SCOLOPACIDAE, is made up of sixteen genera split between seven subfamilies. Subfamily TRINGINAE is itself split into three tribes. This page covers two tribes, TRINGINI or shanks, which comprises the genera Actitis, Tringa and Xenus and PROSOBONIINI with just one genus Prosobonia included, known as the Polynesian Sandpipers.

Family: SCOLOPACIDAE (Rafinesque 1815)

Subfamily: TRINGINAE

Tribes:

  • TRINGINI
  • PROSOBONIINI

Genera: Four genera are recognised three in TRINGINI; Actitis, Tringa, Xenus and one, Prosobonia In PROSONONIINI.

TRINGINI

  • Actitis – Greek; aktites coast-dweller (akte coast) (Illiger 1811) .
  • Tringa – Modern Latin; tringa name given to Green Sandpiper by Aldrovandus (1599); Greek; trungas thrush sized, white-rumped wading bird that bobs its tail, mentioned by Aristotle. (Linnaeus 1758).
  • Xenus – Greek; xenos stranger (Kaup 1829).

PROSOBONIINI

  • Prosobonia – There seems to be no explanation for Bonaparte issuing this name. However Johnsgard (1981) suggested that the name comes from the Greek prosopon (mask, face) and may refer to the dark forecrown, lores and cheeks of the Tahiti Sandpiper.
  • Europe: Spotted and Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Marsh, Green, Wood, Terek and Common Sandpiper.
  • Africa: Spotted and Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Marsh, Green, Wood, Terek and Common Sandpiper, Grey and Wandering Tattler.
  • Asia: Spotted and Common Redshank, Common and Nordmann’s Greenshank, Marsh, Green, Wood, Terek and Common Sandpiper.
  • Australasia: Common Greenshank, Marsh, Wood, Terek and Common Sandpiper, Grey and Wandering Tattler.
  • Polynesia: Tuamotu, Kiritimati, Moorea and Tahiti Sandpipers, Wandering Tattler.
  • North America; Great and Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary and Spotted Sandpiper, Wandering Tattler, and Willet.
  • Central and South America: Great and Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary and Spotted Sandpiper, Wandering Tattler, and Willet.
Twenty species within the subfamily TRINGINAE comprising two species of Actitis and thirteen species of Tringa plus one Xenus. Prosobonia has four species only one of which is extant.

T. t. totanus (Linnaeus 1758)
T. t. robusta (Schiøler 1919)
T. t. ussuriensis (Buturlin 1934)
T. t. terrignotae (R. Meinertzhagen & A. C. Meinertzhagen 1926)
T. t. craggi (Hale 1971)
T. t. eurhina (Oberholser 1900)

T. s. solitaria (Wilson 1813)
T. s. cinnamomea (Brewster 1890)

∗ T. s. semipalmata (Gmelin 1789)
∗ T. s. inornata (Brewster 1887)

  • Grey-tailed and Wandering Tattler used to be placed in their own genus Heteroscelus (Baird 1858)
  • Willet used to be placed in a monotypic genus Catoptrophorus (Bonaparte 1827)
  • Willet used to be recognised as two species Eastern (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus & Western Willet C. inornatus. (but see Future taxonomy below).
  • Polynesian Sandpipers used to be placed in the genus Aechmorhynchus and comprise just two species; Tuamotu Sandpiper Prosobonia cancellata and White-winged Sandpiper P. leucoptera. Tuamotu Sandpiper became P. parvirostris and the subspecies Kiritimati Sandpiper became P. cancellata. White-winged Sandpiper P. leucoptera became Tahiti Sandpiper and the subspecies Moorea Sandpiper P. ellisi.
  • Willet may be recognised as two species again as Eastern Tringa semipalmatus & Western Willet T. inornatus.
  • BirdLife International: IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/03/2020
  • del Hoyo, Josep, Andrew Elliot & Jordi Sargatal: Handbook of the Birds of the World – Vol. 3 (1996)
  • Hayman, Peter, John Marchant & Tony Prater: Shorebirds – An identification guide to the waders of the world (1986)
  • Jobling, James A.: Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names (2010)
  • Seebohm, Henry: The Geographical Distribution of the Family Charadriidae, or, The Plovers, Sandpipers, Snipes, and Their Allies (1888)

Click on an image for more information about the individual species.

Tribe Tringini

Genus Actitis

COMMON SANDPIPER – Least Concern
SPOTTED SANDPIPER – Least Concern

Genus Tringa

Shanks
COMMON GREENSHANK – Least Concern
Shanks
COMMON REDSHANK – Least Concern
Shanks
GREATER YELLOWLEGS – Least Concern
Shanks
GREEN SANDPIPER – Least Concern
Shanks
GREY-TAILED TATTLER – Near Threatened
Shanks
LESSER YELLOWLEGS – Least Concern
Shanks
MARSH SANDPIPER – Least Concern
Shanks
NORDMANN’S GREENSHANK – Endangered
Shanks
SOLITARY SANDPIPER – Least Concern
Shanks
SPOTTED REDSHANK – Least Concern
Shanks
WANDERING TATTLER – Least Concern
Shanks
WILLET – Least Concern
Shanks
WOOD SANDPIPER – Least Concern

Genus Xenus

Shanks
TEREK SANDPIPER – Least Concern

Tribe Prosoboniini

Genus Prosobonia

KIRITIMATI SANDPIPERExtinct

MOOREA SANDPIPERExtinct
TAHITI SANDPIPERExtinct
TUAMOTU SANDPIPER – Endangered