A high proportion of the world population of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper occurs at Tiaozini, China, during the post-breeding moult


35 – 42

1 April 19

Qing Chang, Guy Q.A. Anderson, Kane Brides, Jacquie A. Clark, Nigel A. Clark, Richard Hearn, Katherine Leung, David S. Melville, Ewan Weston, Jenny Weston, Rhys E. Green


Rhys Green
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, UK


Public Files

The Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea breeds in arctic and subarctic Russia and migrates to winter on coastal mudflats in southeast Asia. Its world population is probably about 700 individuals. We report Lincoln-Petersen closed-population estimates of the number of Spoon-billed Sandpipers at Tiaozini, a coastal site in Jiangsu Province, China, based upon resightings and scan surveys of individually-marked leg-flagged birds. Surveys were conducted in September–October, when adult Spoon-billed Sandpipers are moulting their primary feathers and long-distance movements are unlikely. We estimated that 220 birds were present at Tiaozini in 2017 and 224 in 2018. Nearly all of them were adults (one-year old or older), so about 40% of the world population of this age class was estimated to be present. Hence, protection of the mudflats and roost sites at Tiaozini is of global importance for the conservation of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.