Fun Tattler Bird Facts For Kids

Tanya Parkhi
Oct 20, 2022 By Tanya Parkhi
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Here are some interesting tattler bird facts that we have written for you!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.8 Min

The tattler bird is a collective term that refers to two very similar species of birds, the wandering tattler and the gray-tailed tattler, which belong to the Scolopacidae family of waders.

Both these birds are wading shorebirds, which reside on rocky, muddy shores or reefs near large bodies of water. They are migratory birds, which stay stagnant at their breeding grounds for most of the year, before taking a flight to warmer climates for the winter season.

Being coast birds, they can usually be found along coves and beaches, on North American shores, or in the Pacific islands.

These birds can be characterized by their grayish-white color, bright yellow legs, and loud, melodious calls. To learn more facts about this bobbing bird, read on! For more relatable content, check out these crowned eagle facts and great green macaw facts for kids.

Tattler Bird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tattler bird?

Tattlers are a type of shorebird or wading bird.

What class of animal does a tattler bird belong to?

The wandering tattler and gray-tailed tattler belong to the class of Aves.

How many tattler birds are there in the world?

According to the IUCN Red List, there are currently about 29,500 gray-tailed tattlers, and around 6,700- 17,000 of the wandering tattler (Tringa incana) variety in the wild. The population of the wandering tattler is stable, whereas the gray-tailed tattler species are decreasing in number.

Where does a tattler bird live?

These birds can range from the rocky shorelines of North America to Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and can be found along some Pacific Islands as well. They are migrating birds and will spend the winters mostly in North American, Central Asian, and Australian climates after the summer breeding season is over.

What is a tattler bird's habitat?

Being shorebirds, tattler birds can be found living along the rocky Pacific coast and riverbeds full of gravel, mudflats, or among mangroves in cooler climates during summer. Wandering tattlers can usually be found along elevated mountain streams as well, nesting at heights as high as 3,700 ft (1,128 m).

During the breeding season, they move closer to the sandy beaches and reefs in order to build their nest, which they make in depressions in the ground.

The breeding period for tattlers usually occurs in summer, with them taking a flight to search for warmer places for winter. They are mostly found in North America, near the Pacific Ocean.

Who do tattler birds live with?

Tattlers are not usually seen in flocks, they prefer to wade solo or in pairs during the day. At night, however, you can find them in large groups near the coast as they rest for the day.

How long does a tattler bird live?

There is no known information about how long tattlers live.

How do they reproduce?

Tattlers reproduce in the cooler weather right before the winter migration period, the breeding season being between May to August. These North American birds build their nest either on the grounds near the coast of the water bodies they reside near or above ground re-purposing old nests built by other birds.

The female will then lay about four eggs, which both parents will take turns incubating until they hatch, which takes a little less than under a month.

The chicks take their first flight and leave the nest around one to two weeks after being born. They become ready for breeding at around two to three years of age.

What is their conservation status?

The wandering tattler (Tringa incana) is currently ranked as of Least Concern status when it comes to any threat of endangerment. However, the gray-tailed variety has been noted to be Nearly Threatened i.e.

just on the cusp of being part of the threatened species list. This is mostly due to its decreasing numbers caused by the loss of wetlands, a primary habitat for these birds, which may lead to less breeding.

Tattler Bird Fun Facts

What do tattler birds look like?

Tattlers are small, gray birds with long yellow feet and a black or gray bill. They have dark feathers on their crown and a repeating V-shaped pattern on their white underparts.

Their tail feathers are grayish-brown on top and white underneath. They have dark brown eyes, with white detailing around them. Both the species are almost indistinguishable from each other, the only differences being in the visibility and placing of the white plumage on their faces.

The wandering tattler often makes its nest on rocky, gravelly land.

How cute are they?

Tattlers, with their small size and beautifully patterned plumage, look very cute indeed.

How do they communicate?

Tattlers communicate with loud, ringing calls. Their call sounds like a series of loud tweets, which they belt out in quick succession to warm other enemies of any incoming intruders or danger.

There is a slight difference in the calls of the two species however, the wandering tattler has a continuous, trilling call whereas the gray-tailed tattler makes more of a two-noted sound.

How big is a tattler bird?

Tattler birds can be said to be bigger than sparrows, yet smaller than crows. They have a length of 10.2- 11.8 in (26-30 cm) from beak to tail. They are twice the size of house wrens.

How fast can a tattler bird fly?

The exact speed of this bird is unknown, however, they can fly very fast by beating their wings in short, quick intervals, and can glide at high speeds.

How much does a tattler bird weigh?

Tattlers are not very big. They usually weigh between 2.1-6 oz (60-170 g), meaning they aren't very heavy.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females of this species. However, we can call the male birds cocks and females hens to differentiate between them.

What would you call a baby tattler bird?

A baby tattler can be called a hatchling, fledgling, or chick.

What do they eat?

Tattlers are foraging shorebirds and will use their bill to search in the shallow riverbeds to find insects and mollusks to feed on. They follow a carnivorous diet, enjoying a range of worms, small fish, aquatic snails, and crabs. They will search around the floating weeds and vegetation to find and eat organisms living among them.

Are they dangerous?

Tattlers are not very dangerous if seen in the wild, they will not attack unprovoked. However, it is best to observe them from a distance. Being wild birds, it's best to give them their space, especially during the breeding season.

Would they make a good pet?

Since they are migratory birds, it is not possible to keep them as pets. Being wild, they are very accustomed to their natural habitats, and taking them away from their homes may cause them discomfort as they may not be able to adjust properly.

It is best to leave these species alone and observe their beauty from a distance, without keeping them as house pets.

Did you know...

Despite not having webbed feet like other shorebirds, these birds are quite good swimmers indeed.

The tattler belongs to a family of wading birds called Sandpipers (Scolopacidae).

These two species used to have their own genus, Heteroscelus (meaning different leg), before being grouped in with other wading birds in the Tringa genus.

Why is it called tattler?

The tattler bird gets its name from its unique, resounding voice. It calls loudly when it senses any type of danger.

As it seems like it is 'tattling' on the intruder, it has been come to be known as the tattler bird. It is commonly believed that they were named by hunters, who were unable to catch any game due to these birds' warnings.

Types of tattlers and how they are different

There are two known species of tattler birds, the wandering tattler (Tringa incana) and the gray-tailed tattler (Tringa brevipes). These species are very similar looking, both being gray in color with subtle white plumage on their wings and bellies.

It is not very easy to differentiate between both these birds at a fleeting glance, however, it has been noticed that the wandering variety is slightly bigger of the two and has a darker bill.

The white plumage on the heads of both the shorebirds also differs slightly, with it being visibly brighter on the gray-tailed species and barely visible on the wandering variety.

However, the most distinguishing feature which sets both species apart from each other is their calls. The wandering tattler sings in a continuous, trilling series of notes, whereas the gray-tailed one has a rather pronounced, two-toned call.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our tawny eagle facts and frigate bird facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable tattler bird coloring pages.

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Written by Tanya Parkhi

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Tanya Parkhi picture

Tanya ParkhiBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Tanya is a skilled content creator with a passion for writing and a love for exploring new cultures. With a degree in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, India, Tanya worked on her writing skills by contributing to various editorials and publications. She has experience writing blogs, articles, and essays, covering a range of topics. Tanya's writing reflects her interest in travel and exploring local traditions. Her articles showcase her ability to engage readers and keep them interested.

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