In winter the Wood Sandpiper has brownish-grey upperparts, larger feathers are edged with whitish-cream. The breast is brownish-grey streaked. It has a distinctive and pronounced pale eye stripe. It's underwing is pale in flight, an important feature when separating it from other sandpipers. Summer plumage is very similar but with bolder white edging on the back feathers and a slightly paler breast.
Note the distinctive pale stripe and the upper feathers edged with whitish-cream.
The Wood Sandpiper has a pale underwing, an important feature when trying to distinguish it from other Sandpipers such as the Green Sandpiper, which has a dark underwing.
Wood Sandpiper calling.
Confirmed breeding sites
General distribution: A strongly migratory bird, nesting in Northern and Eastern Europe, wintering as far south as India and Africa. Some birds winter in central Europe. A rare breeder in the UK, most often seen as a passage migrant.
Habitat: Breeds in a variety of freshwater habitats but mostly near muddy lagoons and pools. On migration or when wintering, it can be found in similar habitats, but not on estuarine mud.
Notes: The Wood Sandpiper is a freshwater wader usually nesting near trees and scrub, sometimes using abandoned song birds nests. Rarely seen on tidal waterways even on passage.