Written by work experience student, Alice Hall.

Wetland birds are birds which live on, or around, water, and include common species such as gulls and swans, and less common species such as the white-billed diver that is rare to see.

The White-Billed Diver © Steff LeeseThe White-Billed Diver © Steff Leese, Pixiebirding.blogspot.co.uk

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s wetland nature reserves are home to a plethora of different aquatic and non-aquatic species. One of our most popular wetland nature reserves is Langford Lakes, which is situated within the Wylye Valley between Salisbury and Warminster.

Langford Lakes is home to around 150 different species of bird. Some of the wetland birds that can be found here include:

  • Green Sandpiper
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Little Egret
  • Reed Bunting
  • Cetti’s Warbler

Of these, the green sandpiper can be particularly hard to see as it is so well camouflaged, and is a winter migrant, meaning that this time of year is a great time to try and spot them.

The Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus

Green Sandpiper © RSPBGreen Sandpiper © RSPB


The green sandpiper is a medium-sized sandpiper. The sandpipers form a large group within the 'waders' or shorebirds, with several distinct sub-groups.


Length: 21-24cm
Wingspan: 59cm
Weight: 75g

Where to find them

Good places to look for them are near freshwater margins such as marshes, lakes, gravel pits and rivers. In winter, try sewage works, watercress beds and freshwater marshes. 

When to find them

They are generally a winter visitor and are therefore most often seen in England between July and March. 

How can you help?

The green sandpiper is a very rare breeding bird in the UK and is mainly seen when it visits in winter. Its wetland habitats are under threat but The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetlands for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust or becoming a volunteer.

Volunteers for any of our projects are always welcome; our projects are always lots of fun, very satisfying and a great way to meet new people. Check out our latest volunteering opportunities

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