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Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla

IUCN Red List Criteria

Near Threatened (criteria nearly met) A2bcd 

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Near Threatened
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) 1,220,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 1,220,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2006
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 7.4 - - -
Population justification: The population was formerly estimated at 3.5 million individuals, but this was revised downwards to 2.2 million individuals in 2006 (Morrison et al. 2006, A. Lesterhuis in litt. 2009) assuming annual declines of 5% in 75% of the North American population.
Trend justification: This species is conservatively estimated to have declined at a rate approaching 30% over three generations (22 years). Determining the exact population trajectory is very difficult, but aerial surveys along the coasts of Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana (which may support c.85% of the population wintering on the coast of South America) suggest that the non-breeding population may have declined by c.79% between the early 1980s and 2008 (Morrison et al. 2012), while data from the Bay of Fundy show a 68% decline during southbound migration between 1982 and 2005, with the greatest reductions taking place since the mid 1990s.  Preliminary results from surveys of the Brazilian coast (Belem to Baia de Sanadi) in 2011 suggest that declines have also taken place here since 1982, making it unlikely that a southward shift in wintering range accounts for the declines in Suriname and French Guiana (D. Mizrahi in litt. 2011). Long-term population trend indices also suggest that Semipalmated Sandpiper has declined significantly since the 1980s, especially populations migrating along the Atlantic Coast en route to eastern Canadian breeding areas (Mizrahi et al. 2012). However, data from the breeding range suggests that the species was generally increasing or stable in the western and central portions of the range and had an uncertain status in the east (Smith et al. 2012), making the overall picture difficult to determine.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Albania Vagrant Extant      
Anguilla (to UK) Native Extant      
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant      
Argentina Native Extant      
Aruba (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Bahamas Native Extant      
Barbados Native Extant      
Belize Native Extant      
Bermuda (to UK) Native Extant      
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) 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      
Denmark Vagrant Extant      
Djibouti Vagrant Extant      
Dominica Native Extant      
Dominican Republic Native Extant      
Ecuador Native Extant      
El Salvador Native Extant      
France Vagrant Extant      
French Guiana Native Extant      
Germany Vagrant Extant      
Greenland (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant      
Grenada Native Extant      
Guadeloupe (to France) Native Extant      
Guatemala Native Extant      
Guyana Native Extant      
Haiti Native Extant      
Honduras Native Extant      
Iceland Vagrant Extant      
Ireland Vagrant Extant      
Israel Vagrant Extant     Yes
Jamaica Native Extant      
Martinique (to France) Native Extant      
Mauritania Vagrant Extant      
Mexico Native Extant      
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant      
Morocco Vagrant Extant      
Netherlands Vagrant Extant      
Nicaragua Native Extant      
Panama Native Extant      
Paraguay Native Extant      
Peru Native Extant      
Portugal Vagrant Extant      
Puerto Rico (to USA) Native Extant      
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes    
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) Native 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      
United Kingdom Vagrant 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  

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Brazil Baixada Maranhense site factsheet
Brazil Reentrâncias Maranhenses / Paraenses site factsheet
Canada Akimiski Island site factsheet
Canada Barre de Portneuf site factsheet
Canada Battures aux Loups Marins site factsheet
Canada Battures de Beauport and chenal de l'île d'Orléans site factsheet
Canada Chaplin Lake site factsheet
Canada Cobequid Bay site factsheet
Canada Dorchester Cape and Grand Anse site factsheet
Canada Eastern Cape Sable Island site factsheet
Canada Ekwan to Lakitusaki Shores site factsheet
Canada Old Wives-Frederick Lakes site factsheet
Canada Quill Lakes site factsheet
Canada Saint's Rest Marsh and Beach site factsheet
Canada Shepody Bay West site factsheet
Canada Southern Bight, Minas Basin site factsheet
Canada Upper Cumberland Basin 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
Panama Chimán Wetlands site factsheet
Panama Parita Bay site factsheet
Panama Upper Bay of Panamá site factsheet
Puerto Rico (to USA) Suroeste site factsheet
Suriname Bigi Pan site factsheet
Suriname Northern Commewijne/ Marowijne site factsheet
Suriname Northern Coronie site factsheet
Suriname Northern Saramacca site factsheet
Trinidad and Tobago West Coast Mudflats site factsheet
USA Teshekpuk Lake-E. Dease Inlet site factsheet
Venezuela Humedales Boca del Río Unare site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Grassland Tundra suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Mud Flats and Salt Flats major non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses) suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Inland Deltas suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Tundra Wetlands (incl. pools and temporary waters from snowmelt) major breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources / Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Decline Medium Impact:
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals / Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact:
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Species mortality
Energy production & mining Mining & quarrying Timing Scope Severity Impact
Minority (<50%) Negligible declines No/Negligible I
Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Oil & gas drilling Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 3
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents / Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Calidris pusilla. Downloaded from on 10/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/07/2014.

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 Near Threatened
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and allies)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1766)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,220,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species