Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Cramp, S. and Perrins, C.M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.
Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Least Concern
2014 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 6,070,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 72,100,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 270000 poor estimated 2006
Population trend Decreasing suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 10-19 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 10-19 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 5.7 - - -

Population justification: Morrison et al. (2006) give a population estimate of 400,000 birds, with a range of 300,000–500,000. This estimate is assumed here to equate to c.270,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification: Data from the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) suggest that the species has undergone a large and statistically significant decrease in North America over the last 40 years (-94.9% decline over 40 years, equating to a -52.6% decline per decade; Butcher and Niven 2007); however, these surveys cover much less than 50% of the species’s range in North America thus may not provide data that are representative of the overall population (G. Donaldson in litt. 2012).

Following reported declines in the wintering population of T. flavipes in Suriname since the 1970s, surveys were carried out at one site in 2008-2009 using the methods of a previous survey at the same location (Ottema and Ramcharan 2009). The results showed that numbers of T. flavipes were down by c.80% on those recorded in 2002-2003. This change is assumed by Ottema and Ramcharan (2009) to be representative of the entire coast of Suriname, based on an aerial survey of the coast in December 2008, additional ground-based observations and four surveys at another location. Ottema and Ramcharan (2009) suggest that the global population may have declined by c.75% from 2002-2003 to 2008-2009, and that the species may face extinction within 20-30 years, citing Morrison and Ross’s (1989) observations from the mid-1980s that more than 70% of T. flavipes and Greater Yellowlegs T. melanoleuca wintering on the South American coast do so in Suriname. The current estimate for the combined wintering populations of T. flavipes and T. melanoleuca along the coast of north-eastern South America is 8,000, based on multiple aerial surveys (Suriname: 2008, 2011, 2014; French Guiana: 2008, 2014; Brazil: 2011, 2014), suggesting a c.90% decline since 2002-2003 (D. Mizrahi in litt. 2014). Populations in Suriname appear to have experienced the most dramatic change, with declines exceeding 96%, while populations in French Guiana (c.5,000-6,000 individuals) generally appear stable (D. Mizrahi in litt. 2014). However, on present evidence it cannot be discounted that the population is shifting its geographical preferences during the non-breeding season, either along the coast of north-eastern South America or more widely.

Declines have also been noted on St Martin since 2000-2001, with 348 counted in January 2001 and fewer than 5 birds counted each year in 2006-2011 (A. Brown in litt. 2011), and at wetlands around Bogota, Colombia, where more than 98% of habitat has been lost (O. Cortes in litt. 2012). Furthermore, a significant downward trend has been noted since 1991 in the population of this species wintering at the Salinas lagoons in south-western Ecuador (B. Haase in litt. 2011 in Clay et al. 2012). In contrast, there are no signs of a significant decline on the coast of Peru (F. Angulo in litt. 2014).

The species is known to be hunted in some parts of the Caribbean and South American coast and is the most hunted shorebird species on Guadeloupe and Martinique, where several thousand are reported to be shot each year (A. Levesque in litt. 2012). Such evidence suggests that hunting pressure is not sustainable in some years (B. Andres in litt. 2012), and studies are planned and being carried out to quantify the impact of hunting and the rate of population decline (B. Andres in litt. 2012, 2014; A. Levesque in litt. 2012). Other threats to the species include habitat loss through logging, agricultural expansion and intensification, urban development and mining, the use of agrochemicals and climate change (Clay et al. 2012).

Until further evidence is available, this species's population is suspected to be undergoing a moderate decline.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Anguilla (to UK) N Extant
Antigua and Barbuda N Extant
Argentina N Extant
Aruba (to Netherlands) N Extant
Australia V Extant
Austria V Extant
Bahamas N Extant
Barbados N Extant
Belgium V Extant
Belize N Extant Yes
Bermuda (to UK) N Extant
Bolivia N Extant
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) N Extant Yes
Brazil N Extant
Canada N Extant Yes Yes
Cayman Islands (to UK) N Extant
Chile N Extant
Colombia N Extant
Costa Rica N Extant Yes
Cuba N Extant
Curaçao (to Netherlands) N Extant Yes
Denmark V Extant
Dominica N Extant
Dominican Republic N Extant
Ecuador N Extant
El Salvador N Extant
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) V Extant
Finland V Extant
France V Extant
French Guiana N Extant
Gambia V Extant
Germany V Extant
Ghana V Extant
Greece V Extant
Greenland (to Denmark) V Extant
Grenada N Extant
Guadeloupe (to France) N Extant Yes
Guatemala N Extant
Guyana N Extant
Haiti N Extant
Honduras N Extant
Hong Kong (China) V Extant
Hungary V Extant
Iceland V Extant
Indonesia V Extant
Ireland V Extant
Israel V Extant
Italy V Extant
Jamaica N Extant Yes
Japan V Extant
Marshall Islands V Extant
Martinique (to France) N Extant
Mexico N Extant
Montserrat (to UK) N Extant
Morocco V Extant
Netherlands V Extant
New Zealand V Extant
Nicaragua N Extant
Nigeria V Extant
Norway V Extant
Panama N Extant
Paraguay N Extant
Peru N Extant
Poland V Extant
Portugal V Extant
Puerto Rico (to USA) N Extant
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) N Extant Yes
Slovenia V Extant
South Africa V Extant
Spain V Extant
St Barthelemy (to France) N Extant
St Kitts and Nevis N Extant
St Lucia N Extant
St Martin (to France) N Extant Yes
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) N Extant Yes
St Vincent and the Grenadines N Extant
Suriname N Extant
Sweden V Extant
Trinidad and Tobago N Extant Yes
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) N Extant Yes
United Kingdom V Extant
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) N Extant
Uruguay N Extant Yes
USA N Extant Yes
Venezuela N Extant
Virgin Islands (to UK) N Extant Yes
Virgin Islands (to USA) N Extant Yes
Zambia V Extant
Zimbabwe V Extant

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Colombia Ciénaga Grande, Isla de Salamanca and Sabana Grande RAMSAR biosphere reserve
Jamaica Yallahs
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) North, Middle and East Caicos Ramsar Site
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Grand Turk Salinas and Shores
Cuba Humedal Sur de Sancti Spiritus
Cuba Delta del Cauto
Bahamas Great Inagua
Bahamas Harrold and Wilson Ponds National Park
Bahamas Grog Pond
Bahamas Long Island and Hog Cay
Canada Sounding Lake
Canada Frank Lake (north)
Canada Kaskattama River Mouth
Canada Miscou Island
Canada Saint's Rest Marsh and Beach
Canada PEI National Park
Canada Lagune du Havre aux Basques et plage de l'Ouest
Canada Île de l'Est
Canada Barre de Portneuf
Canada Northeast James Bay Coast
Canada Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area
Canada Quill Lakes
Canada Luck Lake
Canada Landis Lake
Canada Shallow Bay, Big Slough and Swan Lake
Canada M'Clintock Bay to Lewes River Marsh
Puerto Rico (to USA) Jobos Bay
St Vincent and the Grenadines Ashton Wetland
St Vincent and the Grenadines Mustique Island
Bahamas Gilliam Bay
Bahamas Low Cay, High Cay and Sandy Hook
Bahamas South Beach Tidal Flats
Argentina Bahía Samborombón
Argentina Reserva de Uso Múltiple Bañados del Río Dulce y Laguna Mar Chiquita
Antigua and Barbuda McKinnons Salt Pond
Antigua and Barbuda Fitches Creek Bay
Antigua and Barbuda Bethesda Dam
Antigua and Barbuda Christian Cove
Antigua and Barbuda Offshore Islands
Bahamas Cat Island Wetlands
Puerto Rico (to USA) Suroeste
Virgin Islands (to USA) Perseverance Bay Lagoons
Barbados St Lucy Shooting Swamps
Paraguay Parque Nacional Tinfunqué - Estero Patiño
Paraguay Lagunas Saladas - Riacho Yacaré
Barbados St Philip Shooting Swamps
St Lucia Point Sables
St Lucia Iyanola and Grande Anses, Esperance and Fond D'ors
Barbados Graeme Hall Swamp
Virgin Islands (to USA) Great Pond
Virgin Islands (to USA) Southgate and Green Cay
Anguilla (to UK) Cove Pond
Anguilla (to UK) Long Salt Pond
Anguilla (to UK) Prickly Pear (East and West)
Virgin Islands (to USA) John Brewer's Bay
Curaçao (to Netherlands) Malpais-St Michiel
Bahamas Red Bays
Jamaica Black River Great Morass
Bahamas Conception Island National Park
Cuba Delta del Mayarí
Mexico Humedales Costeros del Norte de la Península de Yucatán
Mexico Pantanos de Centla
French Guiana Amana
French Guiana Littoral
French Guiana Littoral Sinnamary
French Guiana Littoral Kourou
French Guiana Littoral Macouria
French Guiana Ile de Cayenne
French Guiana Plaine Kaw et Pointe Béhague
Trinidad and Tobago West Coast Mudflats
Guyana Ireng River
Guyana South Central Rupununi
Guyana North Rupununi - Karanambu Ranch
Chile Desembocadura del Río Imperial
Chile Humedal-Marisma Rocuant Andalién
Dominican Republic Jaragua National Park
Brazil Mangue Seco
Brazil Baixada Maranhense
Brazil Delta do Parnaíba
Colombia El Encanto de Guanapalo
Colombia Complejo de Humedales Costeros de la Guajira
Colombia Laguna de la Cocha
Colombia Parque Nacional Natural Amacayacu
Colombia Bojonawi

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Wastewater Treatment Areas suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Water Storage Areas (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Boreal suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Tundra Wetlands (incl. pools and temporary waters from snowmelt) suitable breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Tringa flavipes. Downloaded from on 27/06/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/06/2022.