Conservation assessment of Haematopus ostralegus longipes
33 – 40
26 August 14
Vladimir Sarychev, Alexander Mischenko
State Nature Reser ve ‘Galychya gora’, p/o ‘Donskoye’, Zadonskiy district, Lipetsk region 399240, Russia
The subspecies longipes of the Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus occupies Eastern Europe and the coasts of the Black, Azov and Caspian Seas during the breeding season. To the east the range extends to the basins of the Chylym and Abakan Rivers. This subspecies is narrowly stenotopic, tolerating only a small range of environmental conditions; it breeds mainly on sandy or gravel-stone coasts, islands and sandbars of rivers, seas and lakes, without grass or with very sparse vegetation. Bivalves are the staple food of longipes during the breeding season. In the second half of the 20th century, numbers started to decline due to habitat deterioration (transformation of saline coastal lands into rice fields, construction of channels, water reservoirs and dams, increase in recreation and cattle grazing); since 1990, numbers may have increased locally due to reduction of grazing in coastal areas, decrease of navigation in many rivers and termination of drift of timber wood in northern rivers. The estimate of the 100,000–200,000 breeding pairs in the 4th edition of Waterbird Population Estimates (Wetlands International 2006) is too high, because it includes an estimate of 30,000–55,000 breeding pairs for the Yamal region, whereas only 1,000 breeding pairs probably occur there. It is a long-distance migrant. It spends the winter at the coasts of the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, India, East Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. The main current threats for the breeding populations are degradation and reduction of breeding habitats, mortality of clutches and nestlings in areas with high recreation pressure, due to predation of Hooded Crow, gulls and dogs. We recommend that longipes be included on the IUCN Red List with the category ‘Near Threatened’ because of the vulnerability of the subspecies.