Tringa Linn., Syst. Nat., 10th ed., i, p. 148 (1758).
Type by desig., Tringa ochrophus Linn.
Blanford included in this genus, which he called Totanus instead of Tringa, eight species of Sandpiper, but these have been separated by other systematists until every species has been relegated to a genus of its own. This system seems to defeat the very purpose of classification which has created the term genus for a group of species which are nearer to one another than to others which should be placed in other groups. Occasionally a species may be so aberrant as to deserve recognition of generic separation but this should be exceptional. In the present instance the only birds I separate are the two large Sandpipers with upturned bills and with large webs between the outer and middle toe and practically none between the middle and inner, the two Armstrong's Sandpipers, and the Greenshank I include in the genus Glottis, which is now generally recognized.
In the genus Tringa the bill is long, slender and straight; both mandibles are grooved, the oval nostril being placed near the base of the bill; the tip of the upper mandible is hard and bent down the tarsus is about the same in length as the culmen or slightly longer or shorter; it is scutellated in front and behind; the hind toe is present; the outer toe is joined to the middle by a web and the inner and middle have a smaller web between them, sometimes almost obsolete.
There is little difference between the breeding and non-breeding plumage, except in Tringa erythropus (fuscus auct.), which has a very dark breeding dress.
As restricted in this work, the genus Tringa contains six Indian species ; outside our area it is practically cosmopolitan.
Key to Species.
A, Legs olive-green or yellowish-green, never red.
a. Intermediate in size, wing from 130 to 250 mm.
a1. Lower back brown; tarsus a little shorter than culmen..................T. ochrophus, p. 215.
b1. Lower back white; tarsus a little longer than culmen..................T. stagnatilis, p. 216.
b1. Smallest in size; wins- from 93 to 128 mm.
c1. No white on rump..................T. hypoleucos, p. 217.
d1. Bump white..................T. glareola, p. 219.
B. Legs red. Largest in size.
c. Outer secondaries all white..................T. totanus, p. 221.
d. Outer secondaries barred brown and white..................T. erythropus, p. 223.