Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The global population is estimated to number c.50,000-220,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated at 12,800-48,400 males, which equates to 25,600-96,700 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).
The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations are stable (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated to be decreasing (BirdLife International 2015).
Behaviour This species is fully migratory and travels non-stop on a broad front across Europe, staging first at a number of traditional sites (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It departs from its breeding grounds from August to September, the return migration in the spring beginning in late-February or March (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species breeds from May to August (Hayman et al. 1986) in solitary well-dispersed pairs (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) although where suitable habitat is restricted it may also breed in loose groups of 2-5 pairs and adults may roost communally at night (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species migrates in small parties (Hayman et al. 1986) commonly of 3-6 individuals (occasionally up to 20-80 individuals [del Hoyo et al. 1996]) and it remains gregarious throughout the winter (Hayman et al. 1986). Habitat Breeding The species breeds on flat open uplands, on mountain ridges and plateaus with sparse vegetation, and on coastal and inland Arctic tundra of moss, short grass or lichen and bare patches of rock (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding On passage the species stages in exposed areas with short vegetation, such as heathlands and fallow or ploughed fields, and during the winter its habitats include stony and shrubby steppe, semi-desert, ploughed farmland and the margins of cultivation (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Its diet consists of insects (e.g. beetles, adult and larval Diptera, larval Lepidoptera, grasshoppers, crickets, earwigs and ants), spiders, snails and earthworms, as well as plant matter such as leaves, seeds, berries and flowers (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. of Empetrum spp. [Johnsgard 1981]). Breeding site The nest is a shallow scrape on bare ground or in short vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species is a solitary nester but where suitable habitat is restricted it may also breed in loose groups of 2-5 pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Nests are normally placed between 200 m and several kilometres apart (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Predicted climate change now presents a potentially catastrophic threat to the species, as this and many other boreal land birds are wholly dependent on the ecological conditions currently prevailing in northern Eurasia. Cause for recent declines in Europe might be heavy persecution in North Africa; amelioration of climate in breeding area may also be significant factor. Species has appeared incapable of truly colonizing northern England as a breeding bird, despite availability of seemingly suitable habitat, presumably due to number of sheep, degree of recreational use and increasing acidification of soils. Wintering populations poorly known. Numbers declined in Britain in late 19th century due to hunting and egg-collecting (Wiersma and Kirwan 2013).
Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. EU Birds Directive Annex I. Bern Convention Appendix II. There are no known current conservation measures for this species within its European range.
Conservation Actions Proposed
The following information refers to the species's European range only: Research into the species's ecology, biology and habitat requirements should be undertaken and monitoring of species's trends to inform conservation measures. Identify important areas and ensure protection from habitat destruction and degradation as well as disturbance. Legislation to protect the species from persecution should be developed and enforced.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Eudromias morinellus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/05/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/05/2019.