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Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
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 Low
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 4,790,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 10,500,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 9.1 - - -
Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c.1,000,000-2,300,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China; c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and > c.10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Trend justification: The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations may be stable and others have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006). This species has undergone a large and statistically significant decrease over the last 40 years in North America (-84.7% decline over 40 years, equating to a -37.5% decline per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007) Note, however, that these surveys cover less than 50% of the species's range in North America.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Afghanistan Vagrant Extant        
Albania Native Extant     Yes  
Algeria Native Extant        
American Samoa Native Extant        
Angola Native Extant        
Anguilla (to UK) Native Extant        
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant        
Argentina Native Extant        
Armenia Native Extant        
Aruba (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Australia Native Extant        
Austria Native Extant        
Azerbaijan Native Extant     Yes  
Bahamas Native Extant        
Bahrain Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Bangladesh Native Extant        
Barbados Native Extant        
Belarus Native Extant Yes      
Belgium Native Extant     Yes  
Belize Native Extant   Yes    
Benin Native Extant        
Bermuda (to UK) Native Extant        
Bhutan Native Extant        
Bolivia Native Extant        
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Bosnia and Herzegovina Native Extant        
Botswana Native Extant        
Brazil Native Extant        
British Indian Ocean Territory Native Extant        
Brunei Native Extant        
Bulgaria Native Extant   Yes    
Burkina Faso Vagrant Extant        
Burundi Native Extant        
Cambodia Native Extant        
Cameroon Native Extant        
Canada Native Extant     Yes  
Cape Verde Native Extant        
Cayman Islands (to UK) Native Extant        
Chile Native Extant   Yes    
China (mainland) Native Extant        
Christmas Island (to Australia) Native Extant        
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (to Australia) Native Extant        
Colombia Native Extant        
Comoros Native Extant        
Congo Native Extant        
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant        
Costa Rica Native Extant   Yes    
Côte d'Ivoire Native Extant        
Croatia Native Extant        
Cuba Native Extant        
Curaçao (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Cyprus Native Extant     Yes  
Czech Republic Native Extant        
Denmark Native Extant     Yes  
Djibouti Native Extant        
Dominica Native Extant        
Dominican Republic Native Extant        
Ecuador Native Extant   Yes    
Egypt Native Extant        
El Salvador Native Extant        
Equatorial Guinea Native Extant        
Eritrea Native Extant        
Estonia Native Extant Yes      
Ethiopia Native Extant        
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Native Extant        
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Native Extant Yes      
Fiji Native Extant     Yes  
Finland Native Extant Yes   Yes  
France Native Extant   Yes Yes  
French Guiana Native Extant        
French Southern Territories Vagrant Extant        
Gabon Native Extant        
Gambia Native Extant        
Georgia Native Extant        
Germany Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Ghana Native Extant        
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant   Yes    
Greece Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Greenland (to Denmark) Native Extant Yes      
Grenada Vagrant Extant        
Guadeloupe (to France) Native Extant     Yes  
Guam (to USA) Native Extant   Yes    
Guatemala Native Extant        
Guinea Native Extant        
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant        
Guyana Native Extant        
Haiti Native Extant        
Honduras Native Extant        
Hong Kong (China) Native Extant        
Hungary Native Extant     Yes  
Iceland Native Extant Yes      
India Native Extant        
Indonesia Native Extant        
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Iraq Native Extant     Yes  
Israel Native Extant        
Italy Native Extant   Yes    
Jamaica Native Extant        
Japan Native Extant        
Jordan Vagrant Extant        
Kazakhstan Native Extant        
Kenya Native Extant        
Kiribati Native Extant        
Kuwait Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Kyrgyzstan Native Extant        
Latvia Native Extant Yes      
Lebanon Native Extant     Yes  
Liberia Native Extant        
Libya Native Extant        
Liechtenstein Vagrant Extant        
Luxembourg Native Extant        
Macao (China) Native Extant        
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant   Yes    
Madagascar Native Extant        
Malawi Native Extant        
Malaysia Native Extant   Yes    
Maldives Native Extant        
Mali Native Extant        
Malta Native Extant        
Marshall Islands Native Extant   Yes    
Martinique (to France) Native Extant        
Mauritania Native Extant        
Mauritius Native Extant        
Mayotte (to France) Native Extant        
Mexico Native Extant        
Micronesia, Federated States of Native Extant   Yes    
Moldova Native Extant        
Mongolia Native Extant        
Montenegro Native Extant        
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant        
Morocco Native Extant        
Mozambique Native Extant        
Myanmar Native Extant        
Namibia Native Extant        
Nauru Native Extant   Yes    
Nepal Native Extant        
Netherlands Native Extant        
New Caledonia (to France) Native Extant        
New Zealand Native Extant        
Nicaragua Native Extant        
Nigeria Native Extant        
Norfolk Island (to Australia) Native Extant   Yes    
North Korea Native Extant        
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Native Extant   Yes    
Norway Native Extant Yes      
Oman Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Pakistan Native Extant        
Palau Native Extant   Yes    
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Panama Native Extant        
Papua New Guinea Native Extant        
Peru Native Extant        
Philippines Native Extant        
Poland Native Extant     Yes  
Portugal Native Extant   Yes    
Puerto Rico (to USA) Native Extant        
Qatar Native Extant     Yes  
Réunion (to France) Native Extant        
Romania Native Extant     Yes  
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes      
Rwanda Native Extant        
Samoa Native Extant        
São Tomé e Príncipe Native Extant        
Saudi Arabia Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Senegal Native Extant        
Serbia Native Extant        
Seychelles Native Extant        
Sierra Leone Native Extant        
Singapore Native Extant        
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Slovakia Native Extant        
Slovenia Vagrant Extant        
Solomon Islands Native Extant        
Somalia Native Extant        
South Africa Native Extant        
South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands Native Extant        
South Korea Native Extant        
Spain Native Extant   Yes    
Sri Lanka Native Extant        
St Kitts and Nevis Native Extant        
St Lucia Native Extant        
St Martin (to France) Native Extant     Yes  
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Native Extant     Yes  
St Vincent and the Grenadines Native Extant        
Sudan Native Extant   Yes    
Suriname Native Extant        
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Native Extant        
Sweden Native Extant Yes      
Switzerland Native Extant        
Syria Native Extant     Yes  
Taiwan (China) Native Extant        
Tajikistan Vagrant Extant        
Tanzania Native Extant        
Thailand Native Extant        
Timor-Leste Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Togo Native Extant        
Trinidad and Tobago Native Extant     Yes  
Tunisia Native Extant        
Turkey Native Extant   Yes    
Turkmenistan Native Extant        
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Native Extant        
Tuvalu Native Extant        
Uganda Native Extant        
Ukraine Native Extant     Yes  
United Arab Emirates Native Extant   Yes Yes  
United Kingdom Native Extant     Yes Yes
Uruguay Native Extant   Yes    
USA Native Extant Yes      
Uzbekistan Native Extant        
Vanuatu Native Extant        
Venezuela Native Extant        
Vietnam Native Extant        
Virgin Islands (to UK) Vagrant Extant        
Virgin Islands (to USA) Vagrant Extant        
Western Sahara Native Extant        
Yemen Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Zambia Native Extant        
Zimbabwe Native Extant        

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Brazil Reentrâncias Maranhenses / Paraenses site factsheet
Canada Lagune du Havre aux Basques et plage de l'Ouest site factsheet
Canada Long Point Peninsula and Marshes site factsheet
Canada Presqu'ile Provincial Park site factsheet
Chile Bahía de Chullec site factsheet
Chile Bahía Curaco de Vélez site factsheet
Chile Bahía de Quinchao site factsheet
Chile Bahía de Yaldad site factsheet
Chile Desembocadura del Río Chamiza,Coihuin-Pelluco site factsheet
Chile Desembocadura del Río Imperial site factsheet
Chile Desembocadura del Río Lluta site factsheet
Chile Desembocadura del Río Maipo site factsheet
Chile Desembocadura Río Mataquito site factsheet
Chile Estero Mantagua y Desembocadura del Río Aconcagua site factsheet
Chile Estuario de Maullín y Cerro Amortajado site factsheet
Chile Humedal-Estuario Tubul-Raqui site factsheet
Chile Isla Grande de Chiloé site factsheet
Chile Mehuin site factsheet
Chile Playa Laraquete site factsheet
Chile Sistema Quetalmahue, Quilo y Mar Brava site factsheet
China (mainland) Shuangtai (Shuangtaizi) Estuary and Inner Gulf of Liaodong site factsheet
China (mainland) Wenzhou Wan site factsheet
Colombia Parque Nacional Natural Sanquianga site factsheet
Costa Rica Nicoya Gulf mangroves and coastal areas site factsheet
Costa Rica Nicoya Peninsula site factsheet
Ecuador Ciénaga de La Segua site factsheet
Ecuador Humedales de Pacoa site factsheet
Ecuador Lagunas de Ecuasal-Salinas site factsheet
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Fugloy site factsheet
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Skúvoy site factsheet
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Vøtnini á Sandoy (Lakes of Sandoy) site factsheet
Finland Kevo site factsheet
Finland Koitajoki area site factsheet
Finland Lemmenjoki-Hammastunturi-Pulju site factsheet
Finland Litokaira site factsheet
Finland Maltio fjelds site factsheet
Finland Pallas and Ylläs fjelds site factsheet
Finland Patvinsuo National Park site factsheet
Finland Pomokaira-Koitelaiskaira site factsheet
Finland Saariselkä and Koilliskaira site factsheet
Finland Värriö-Tuntsa site factsheet
France Marais et forêt d'Olonne site factsheet
France Marais poitevin et baie de l'Aiguillon site factsheet
French Guiana Ile de Cayenne site factsheet
French Guiana Littoral site factsheet
French Guiana Littoral Kourou site factsheet
French Guiana Littoral Macouria site factsheet
French Guiana Littoral Sinnamary site factsheet
French Guiana Plaine Kaw et Pointe Béhague site factsheet
Guinea-Bissau Arquipélago dos Bijagós site factsheet
Guinea-Bissau Rio Tombali, Rio Cumbijã and Ilha de Melo site factsheet
Iceland Markarfljótsaurar site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Anzali Mordab complex site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Miankaleh Peninsula and Gorgan Bay site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of South Caspian shore, from Astara to Gomishan site factsheet
Ireland River Shannon callows: Portumna-Athlone site factsheet
Japan Hakata bay site factsheet
Japan Hikawa estuary, Shiranui site factsheet
Japan Inner Ariake bay site factsheet
Japan Inner Tokyo bay site factsheet
Japan Kamogawa estuary site factsheet
Japan Kumakawa estuary site factsheet
Japan Kumozugawa, Atagogawa and Kongogawa estuaries site factsheet
Japan Lakes Komuke and Shibunotsunai site factsheet
Japan Miyako islands site factsheet
Japan Nakatsu and Usa tidal flats site factsheet
Japan Shiokawa tidal flat site factsheet
Japan Shirakawa estuary site factsheet
Japan Sone tidal flat site factsheet
Japan Tonegawa floodplain site factsheet
Malaysia Matang coast site factsheet
Malaysia North-central Selangor coast site factsheet
Mauritania Banc d'Arguin National Park site factsheet
Mexico Bahia de Ceuta-Cospita site factsheet
Mexico Coastal hunedals of the North of the Peninsula of Yucatan site factsheet
Mexico Ensenada of Pavilions site factsheet
Mexico Estero Cardonal site factsheet
Oman Barr al Hikman site factsheet
Oman Masirah island site factsheet
Palau Northern Peleliu Lkes (sandflats) site factsheet
Panama Chimán Wetlands site factsheet
Panama Ensenada de Garachiné Wetlands site factsheet
Panama Upper Bay of Panamá site factsheet
Romania Câmpia Crişurilor site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Babushkina bay site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Konstantin and Tugur bays site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Malakchan bay site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Moroshechnaya river site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Ola lagoon site factsheet
Russia (European) Bylinskaya site factsheet
Russia (European) Mouth of Svir river site factsheet
Russia (European) Olonets plain site factsheet
Russia (European) Polisto-Lovatskaya mire system site factsheet
Russia (European) Ul'skoye bog site factsheet
Russia (European) Watershead of Kama and Porysh rivers site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Tarut Bay site factsheet
South Korea Asan Bay (including Asan-ho lake and Sapgyo-ho lake) site factsheet
South Korea Baeksu tidal flat site factsheet
South Korea Dongjin estuary site factsheet
South Korea Mangyeong estuary site factsheet
South Korea Namyang Bay site factsheet
South Korea Tidal flat area of Yeongjong-do island site factsheet
Sweden Lake Ånnsjön-Storlien site factsheet
Trinidad and Tobago West Coast Mudflats site factsheet
United Kingdom Blackpark and Gutcher, Yell site factsheet
United Kingdom Crussa Field and the Heogs site factsheet
United Kingdom Hill of Colvadale and Sobul site factsheet
United Kingdom Moorland Areas, Central Shetland site factsheet
USA Barrier Island/Lagoon System site factsheet
USA Imperial Valley site factsheet
Yemen Al-'Urj site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land suitable non-breeding
Forest Boreal suitable breeding
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level suitable non-breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded suitable non-breeding
Grassland Tundra suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Mud Flats and Salt Flats suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Tidepools suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Boreal suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m 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
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent
Sport Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Numenius phaeopus. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,790,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment