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What am I?

I am a wading bird.

Where do I come from?

Some of us spend our summer breeding season in the North West of the UK but others travel further from Iceland.

A bit about me

Shank is an old fashioned name for legs, and that’s where my name comes from, my legs are bright red-orange in colour. I also have a redish beak which I use to find my food when I visit muddy, rocky or sandy shores. I like to eat molluscs and you might even see me jabbing my beak into the water to catch small fish. When I am flying my wings are a good feature to look out for, they have white edges which are easy to spot.

I am known as the ‘warden of the marshes’ because I’m often the first and one of the loudest birds to warn other species when there is a predator about, I have a high-pitched short whistling call which I repeat over and over again.

Local spotlight

I am commonly seen on muddy Solent shores by birders but I can be harder to pick out for less experienced eyes as my feathers blend in with the brown mud. There are over 2000 of us in the Solent during the winter months.

Conservation status

I’m amber listed in the UK

I’m a qualifying feature for the Chichester and Langstone Harbours Special Protection Area – that means, when the site was designated, a nationally significant number of us used these awesome coastlines in the winter!

Fun fact

We have a very special trick when we feed… we tremble our feet to make the wet sand more fluid, this makes prey float to the surface so we can eat them.