Conservation status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
Common name: spoon-billed sandpiper
Scientific name: Calidris pygmaea
Diet: small invertebrates
Length: 14-16 cm
The spoon-billed sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea) is a small wader which breeds in north-eastern Russia and winters in Southeast Asia.
The most distinctive feature of this species is its spatulate bill. The breeding adult bird is 14–16 cm in length, and has a red-brown head, neck and breast with dark brown streaks. It has blackish upperparts with buff and pale rufous fringing. Non-breeding adults lack the reddish colouration, but have pale brownish-grey upperparts with whitish fringing to the wing-coverts. The underparts are white and the legs are black.
The spoon-billed sandpiper’s breeding habitat is sea coasts and adjacent hinterland on the Chukchi Peninsula and southwards along the isthmus of the Kamchatka peninsula It migrates down the Pacific coast through Japan, North Korea, South Korea and China, to its main wintering grounds in South and South-East Asia, where it has been recorded from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore.
This bird is critically endangered, with a current population of only around 360-600 to remain in the wild, according to 2009/2010 estimates, but this is believed to be on the optimistic side. Most researchers believe that two factors are responsible for the Spoon-billed Sandpipers population decline: the elimination of migratory stopover habitat, particularly in the Yellow Sea region, and subsistence hunting on the wintering grounds.
- BirdLife International (2013). “Calidris pygmaea“. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- BirdLife International (BLI) (2008a). Spoon-billed Sandpiper Species Factsheet.Retrieved 24 May 2008.