The Spotted Greenshank, also called Nordmann’s Greenshank thanks to its Finnish discoverer, Alexander von Nordmann, is one of the most threatened shorebirds in East Asia. The species is so named thanks to the white spotting on its black top while the breeding period. The IUCN Red List considers the species as ‘critically endangered’. At the moment, scientists estimate a population of about 1,500 individuals. More positive surveys estimate a maximum of 1,500 to 2,000 sexually mature individuals, but with a declining trend.
Their habitats disappear
During the breeding period, the Spotted Greenshank prefers forested habitats with sparse larch trees and coastal meadows for their food search. Unusual among many shorebirds, the Spotted Greenshank builds their nests of twigs, mosses and lichens in larch trees two to four meters above the floor – most other shorebirds nests are on the ground. The female and the male Spotted Greenshank are both jointly involved in building the nest. Also, the roles of raising the chicks are shared by both parents.
A major threat for the Spotted Greenshank is that the species continue to be hunted in some breeding areas of Russia. In addition, its staging and wintering habitat has greatly declined thanks to expanding use of coastal areas in Asia for development, leading to widespread wetland loss. In China alone, 40 percent of the coastal wetlands which the species stage in has been lost since the 1990s. The species uses the East-Asian-Australian migration route, which is used by 60 different Eurasian wading bird species and which reaches until South-East-Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
As wintering habitats the Spotted Greenshank mainly uses low land sumps, but also wetland meadows, sand beaches and salt pans. The Spotted Greenshank bathes in streams of estuaries and might sleep for hours while standing and having the bleak under the wings. In its wintering fields they often form large flocks with other shorebird species. Its main wintering areas are in the coastline of Southeast Asia at from Bangladesh and the Gulf of Thailand, east to Vietnam. It has been also seen on its migration route through China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, North and South Korea, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.