WatchList Species Account for Wandering Tattler
(Heteroscelus incanus)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species


Photo: Ashok Khosla
Photo: Ted Ardley

One of the least known of North America’s birds, the Wandering Tattler is solitary most of the year, occurring alone or in groups of two or three on shores along all but the southernmost parts of the Pacific basin.


With a population thought to be at 10,000 to 25,000 individuals, the bird breeds in Alaska, parts of northwest Canada, and parts of the Russian Far East; it is estimated that more than 90% breed in North America. It nests solitarily in montane habitats.


In its nonbreeding season it is found principally on rocky shorelines from British Columbia south to Peru, including near-shore islands. It is also found throughout Oceania and in Asia during the nonbreeding season. It feeds on invertebrates, primarily marine invertebrates and aquatic insects, and on small fish.


Data from the 70s to 90s indicate a downward population trend on the California coast. Much remains to be learned about this species; there are no detailed studies of its breeding ecology. Its global population size and trends also need investigation.