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Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

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
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
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
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 Lake Komukeko and Lake Shibunotsunaiko 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
Norway Inner part of Porsanger fjord site factsheet
Oman Barr al Hikman site factsheet
Oman Masirah island 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) Malkachan tundra site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Moroshechnaya river 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
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 and 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 (2014) Species factsheet: Numenius phaeopus. Downloaded from on 21/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/04/2014.

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 and allies)
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