Common Redshanks have a wide distribution across Europe and Asia, breeding in a variety of marshy habitats from Iceland and Iberia to China. In autumn they move to winter along the coasts and certain major river valleys of western Europe, the Mediterranean area and southern Asia.
 The British breeding population is partially migratory, moving in winter to coasts mainly within Great Britain but some also to the coasts of Ireland and western France. Many Icelandic Redshanks also winter on British coasts. Bird Atlas 2007-2011 revealed a 43% contraction in the Common Redshank’s British breeding range since the publication of the 1968-72 Breeding Atlas, with a corresponding reduction in relative abundance. These reductions are believed to result from loss of habitat due to agricultural intensification and drainage of wetlands.
    In Wiltshire during the first half of the 19th century the species was regarded as a scarce breeder, but from about 1865 numbers began to increase until by the 1930s breeding was being reported form most of the river valleys in the county.  But then, in line with what was happening nationally, numbers started to fall again until they have once more all but disappeared from the county as breeding birds. Birds of Wiltshire recorded them breeding in only five tetrads, one at the Cotswold Water Park (CWP), one on the Kennet and Avon Canal, two on the River Bourne and one on the River Avon south of Salisbury. In WTA2 there are no confirmed breeding records, though there are still five tetrads, all clustered around the CWP, where they probably bred.


The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.