Shorebirds of conservation concern in Canada – 2019


88 – 100

8 August 19

David D. Hope, Cynthia Pekarik, Mark C. Drever, Paul A. Smith, Cheri Gratto-Trevor, Julie Paquet, Yves Aubry, Garry Donaldson, Christian Friis, Kirsty Gurney, Jennie Rausch, Ann E. McKellar, Brad Andres


David Hope
Environment and Climate Change Canada, 335 River Road, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H3, Canada


Public Files

Prioritizing taxa for conservation action is a critical step in assessing management needs for migratory birds. Recent evidence suggests that many shorebird species are experiencing population declines. Shorebirds breed, migrate, and spend the non-breeding season across large areas, exposing them to a variety of natural and human-induced threats. In Canada, this taxonomic group was last assessed for conservation prioritization in 2000, during the development of the Canadian Shorebird Conservation Plan. Here, we update this assessment by reassessing the 52 taxa of shorebirds that regularly visit Canada throughout their annual cycle, using current information about species’ taxonomic status, population size and trends, distributions and threats in the breeding and non-breeding season. We categorize seven taxa as ‘Highly Imperiled’ and twenty taxa as of ‘High Concern’. Ten taxa increased in level of conservation concern since the 2000 assessment and eight decreased in concern. All shorebirds in Canada are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA); nine of these are also listed in Canada under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The majority of the species classified as being of ‘High Concern’ or ‘Moderate Concern’ are not currently listed under SARA and therefore not afforded the additional protection conferred by this act. Many taxa are not protected under formal legal mechanisms on their non-breeding grounds, despite numerous threats occurring there. Protecting habitat within Canada and fostering conservation collaborations outside of Canada are critical actions to protect this important taxonomic group.