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LC
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
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 -

Distribution

  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 4,590,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 20,500,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 270000 poor Estimated 2006
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
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 Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Anguilla (to UK) Native Extant        
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant        
Argentina Native Extant        
Aruba (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Australia Vagrant Extant        
Austria Vagrant Extant        
Bahamas Native Extant        
Barbados Native Extant        
Belgium Vagrant Extant        
Belize Native Extant   Yes    
Bermuda (to UK) Native Extant        
Bolivia Native Extant        
Brazil Native Extant        
Canada Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Cayman Islands (to UK) Native Extant        
Chile Native Extant        
Colombia Native Extant        
Costa Rica Native Extant   Yes    
Cuba Native Extant        
Curaçao (to Netherlands) Native Extant   Yes    
Denmark Vagrant Extant        
Dominica Native Extant        
Dominican Republic Native Extant        
Ecuador Native Extant        
El Salvador Native Extant        
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Vagrant Extant        
Finland Vagrant Extant        
France Vagrant Extant        
French Guiana Native Extant        
Gambia Vagrant Extant        
Germany Vagrant Extant        
Ghana Vagrant Extant        
Greece Vagrant Extant        
Greenland (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant        
Grenada Native Extant        
Guadeloupe (to France) Native Extant   Yes    
Guatemala Native Extant        
Guyana Native Extant        
Haiti Native Extant        
Honduras Native Extant        
Hong Kong (China) Vagrant Extant        
Hungary Vagrant Extant        
Iceland Vagrant Extant        
Indonesia Vagrant Extant        
Ireland Vagrant Extant        
Israel Vagrant Extant        
Italy Vagrant Extant        
Jamaica Native Extant   Yes    
Japan Vagrant Extant        
Marshall Islands Vagrant Extant        
Martinique (to France) Native Extant        
Mexico Native Extant        
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant        
Morocco Vagrant Extant        
Netherlands Vagrant Extant        
Netherlands Antilles Native Extant   Yes    
New Zealand Vagrant Extant        
Nicaragua Native Extant        
Nigeria Vagrant Extant        
Norway Vagrant Extant        
Panama Native Extant        
Paraguay Native Extant        
Peru Native Extant        
Poland Vagrant Extant        
Portugal Vagrant Extant        
Puerto Rico (to USA) Native Extant        
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) Native Extant   Yes    
Slovenia Vagrant Extant        
South Africa Vagrant Extant        
Spain Vagrant 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        
Suriname Native Extant        
Sweden Vagrant Extant        
Trinidad and Tobago Native Extant     Yes  
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Native Extant   Yes    
United Kingdom Vagrant Extant        
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Native Extant        
Uruguay Native Extant   Yes    
USA Native Extant Yes      
Venezuela Native Extant        
Virgin Islands (to UK) Native Extant   Yes    
Virgin Islands (to USA) Native Extant   Yes    
Zambia Vagrant Extant        
Zimbabwe Vagrant Extant        

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Argentina Bahía de Samborombón y Punta Rasa site factsheet
Argentina Reserva de Uso Múltiple Bañados del Río Dulce y Laguna Mar Chiquita site factsheet
Barbados St Lucy Shooting Swamps site factsheet
Barbados St Philip Shooting Swamps site factsheet
Canada Sounding Lake site factsheet
Chile Desembocadura del Río Imperial site factsheet
Chile Humedal-Marisma Rocuant Andalién site factsheet
Colombia Ciénaga Grande, Isla de Salamanca and Sabana Grande RAMSAR biosphere reserve site factsheet
Cuba Delta del Cauto site factsheet
Cuba Humedal Sur de Sancti Spiritus site factsheet
French Guiana Amana 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
Puerto Rico (to USA) Jobos Bay site factsheet
Puerto Rico (to USA) Suroeste site factsheet
Trinidad and Tobago West Coast Mudflats site factsheet
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Grand Turk Salinas and Shores site factsheet
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) North, Middle and East Caicos Ramsar Site site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Wastewater Treatment Areas suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine 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 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
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation

Utilisation

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Tringa flavipes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/11/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/11/2014.

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, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author (Gmelin, 1789)
Population size 270000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,590,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species