Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Near Threatened. It is restricted to the East Asian-Australasian flyway where loss of key stopover sites in the Yellow Sea region are thought to be responsible for declines in waterbird populations. The species is thought to be declining at a rate approaching the threshold for Vulnerable under the population size reduction criterion, according to thirty years of monitoring data from around Australia and New Zealand (almost meets A2bc+3bc+4bc).
The global population is estimated to number c.315,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015) of which c. 270,000 reach Australia during the non-breeding season.
The overall population trend is thought to be declining, based on monitoring data from Australia and New Zealand which reported a population decline of 29% over three generations (Studds et al. in prep). Further research is needed to ascertain whether this is entirely due to a genuine global decline or whether it can partly be accounted for by a shift in the wintering range.
This species breeds in northern and north-eastern Russia and sporadically in western and northern Alaska (U.S.A.). It winters from eastern India, Myanmar, southern China and Taiwan (China) to the Philippines, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand (Van Gils et al. 2013).
During the breeding season the species uses low altitude montane tundra in the subalpine belt. In the non-breeding season it mainly uses coastal and intertidal mudflats, sheltered inlets, bays and lagoons but it also uses freshwater, brackish and saltwater wetlands and occasionally sandy beaches and rocky shorelines (Van Gils et al. 2013).
The species is restricted to the East Asian-Australasian Flyway and habitat loss at critical stopover sites in the Yellow Sea is suspected to be the most important threat to this species. Habitat loss within the Yellow Sea region is thought to be driving waterbird population declines (Amano et al. 2010, Yang et al. 2011). Up to 65% of intertidal habitat in the Yellow Sea has been lost over the past 50 years, and habitat is currently disappearing at a rate of >1% annually since the 1980s owing to reclamation for agriculture, aquaculture, and other development (Murray et al. 2014). Hundreds of birds died as a result of pesticide applications in Western Australia (Van Gils et al. 2013).
Conservation and Research Actions Underway
The species is classified as Near Threatened in Australia.
Conservation and Research Actions Proposed
Protect key stopover sites in the Yellow Sea. Continue to monitor the population. Implement research to ascertain whether the population decline reported for Australia and New Zealand represents a genuine decline or a shift in the species's wintering range.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S. & Ekstrom, J.
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Calidris ruficollis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/11/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/11/2022.