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Ruff Philomachus pugnax

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 Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 8,580,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 20,400,000 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) 5.3 - - -
Population justification: The global population is estimated to number 2,000,000-2,600,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and < c.50 wintering individuals in China; c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and < c.50 wintering individuals in Taiwan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Trend justification: The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan Native Extant     Yes
Albania Native Extant      
Algeria Native Extant      
Angola Native Extant      
Anguilla (to UK) Vagrant Extant      
Antigua and Barbuda Vagrant Extant      
Armenia Native Extant      
Australia Vagrant Extant      
Austria Native Extant     Yes
Azerbaijan Native Extant     Yes
Bahrain Native Extant   Yes Yes
Bangladesh Native Extant      
Barbados Vagrant Extant      
Belarus Native Extant Yes   Yes
Belgium Native Extant   Yes Yes
Benin Native Extant      
Bermuda (to UK) Vagrant Extant      
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) Native Extant     Yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina Native Extant      
Botswana Native Extant      
Brazil Vagrant Extant      
Brunei Native Extant      
Bulgaria Native Extant   Yes  
Burkina Faso Native Extant      
Burundi Native Extant      
Cambodia Native Extant      
Cameroon Native Extant      
Canada Vagrant Extant      
Cape Verde Native Extant      
Cayman Islands (to UK) Vagrant Extant      
Central African Republic Native Extant      
Chad Native Extant      
China (mainland) Native Extant      
Colombia Vagrant Extant      
Comoros Vagrant Extant      
Congo Native Extant      
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant      
Costa Rica Vagrant Extant      
Côte d'Ivoire Native Extant      
Croatia Native Extant Yes   Yes
Curaçao (to Netherlands) Native Extant     Yes
Cyprus Native Extant   Yes Yes
Czech Republic Native Extant   Yes Yes
Denmark Native Extant Yes   Yes
Djibouti Native Extant      
Dominica Vagrant Extant      
Egypt Native Extant      
Eritrea Native Extant      
Estonia Native Extant Yes   Yes
Ethiopia Native Extant      
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant      
Finland Native Extant Yes   Yes
France Native Extant     Yes
Gabon Native Extant      
Gambia Native Extant      
Georgia Native Extant      
Germany Native Extant     Yes
Ghana Native Extant      
Greece Native Extant   Yes Yes
Greenland (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant      
Grenada Native Extant      
Guadeloupe (to France) Vagrant Extant     Yes
Guam (to USA) Native Extant   Yes  
Guatemala Vagrant Extant      
Guinea Native Extant      
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant      
Hong Kong (China) Native Extant      
Hungary Native Extant Yes   Yes
Iceland Vagrant Extant      
India Native Extant      
Indonesia Native Extant      
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant   Yes Yes
Iraq Native Extant     Yes
Ireland Native Extant   Yes  
Israel Native Extant      
Italy Native Extant   Yes Yes
Jamaica Vagrant Extant      
Japan Vagrant Extant      
Jordan Native Extant   Yes Yes
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes    
Kenya Native Extant      
Kuwait Native Extant   Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan Native Extant     Yes
Laos Vagrant Extant      
Latvia Native Extant Yes   Yes
Lebanon Native Extant   Yes Yes
Lesotho Native Extant      
Liberia Native Extant      
Libya Native Extant      
Liechtenstein Vagrant Extant      
Lithuania Native Extant Yes    
Luxembourg Native Extant      
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant   Yes  
Madagascar Vagrant Extant      
Malawi Native Extant      
Malaysia Native Extant      
Maldives Vagrant Extant      
Mali Native Extant      
Malta Native Extant      
Marshall Islands Native Extant   Yes  
Martinique (to France) Vagrant Extant      
Mauritania Native Extant      
Mauritius Vagrant Extant      
Mexico Vagrant Extant      
Micronesia, Federated States of Native Extant   Yes  
Moldova Native Extant     Yes
Monaco Native Extant      
Mongolia Native Extant      
Montenegro Native Extant   Yes Yes
Montserrat (to UK) Vagrant Extant      
Morocco Native Extant      
Mozambique Native Extant      
Myanmar Native Extant      
Namibia Native Extant      
Nepal Native Extant      
Netherlands Native Extant      
New Zealand Vagrant Extant      
Niger Native Extant      
Nigeria Native Extant      
North Korea Vagrant Extant      
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Native Extant   Yes  
Norway Native Extant Yes   Yes
Oman Native Extant   Yes Yes
Pakistan Native Extant      
Palau Native Extant   Yes  
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant     Yes
Panama Vagrant Extant      
Papua New Guinea Native Extant      
Peru Vagrant Extant      
Philippines Native Extant      
Poland Native Extant     Yes
Portugal Native Extant   Yes  
Puerto Rico (to USA) Vagrant Extant      
Qatar Native Extant   Yes Yes
Romania Native Extant   Yes Yes
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes    
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes   Yes
Russia (European) Native Extant     Yes
Rwanda Native Extant      
Saudi Arabia Native Extant   Yes Yes
Senegal Native Extant      
Serbia Native Extant   Yes Yes
Seychelles Vagrant Extant      
Sierra Leone Native Extant      
Singapore Native Extant      
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) Native Extant     Yes
Slovakia Native Extant      
Slovenia Native Extant   Yes Yes
Solomon Islands Vagrant Extant      
Somalia Native Extant      
South Africa Native Extant      
South Korea Native Extant      
South Sudan Native Extant   Yes  
Spain Native Extant   Yes Yes
Sri Lanka Native Extant      
St Kitts and Nevis Vagrant Extant      
St Lucia Vagrant Extant      
St Vincent and the Grenadines Vagrant Extant      
Sudan Native Extant      
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Vagrant Extant      
Swaziland Native Extant      
Sweden Native Extant Yes   Yes
Switzerland Native Extant   Yes  
Syria Native Extant   Yes Yes
Taiwan (China) Native Extant      
Tajikistan Native Extant      
Tanzania Native Extant      
Thailand Native Extant      
Timor-Leste Native Extant   Yes Yes
Togo Native Extant      
Trinidad and Tobago Vagrant Extant      
Tunisia Native Extant      
Turkey Native Extant   Yes  
Turkmenistan Native Extant      
Uganda Native Extant      
Ukraine Native Extant     Yes
United Arab Emirates Native Extant   Yes Yes
United Kingdom Native Extant     Yes
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Vagrant Extant      
USA Vagrant Extant Yes    
Uzbekistan Native Extant      
Venezuela Vagrant Extant      
Vietnam Native Extant      
Virgin Islands (to UK) Vagrant Extant      
Virgin Islands (to USA) Vagrant 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
Cameroon Logone flood-plain site factsheet
Chad Lake Chad site factsheet
Estonia Alam-Pedja site factsheet
Estonia Lahemaa site factsheet
Estonia Lavassaare site factsheet
Estonia Muraka site factsheet
Estonia Nätsi-Võlla site factsheet
Ethiopia Abijatta - Shalla Lakes National Park site factsheet
Finland Kemihaara (Vuotos) mires and forests site factsheet
Finland Lemmenjoki-Hammastunturi-Pulju site factsheet
Finland Martimoaapa-Lumiaapa-Penikat site factsheet
Finland Oulu region wetlands site factsheet
Finland Pomokaira-Koitelaiskaira site factsheet
Finland Saariselkä and Koilliskaira site factsheet
France Plaine du Forez site factsheet
Germany Jadebusen, inland site factsheet
Hungary Hortobágy and Tisza-to site factsheet
India Bardha Dam site factsheet
India Kaj Lake (Pipalava Bandharo) site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Uromiyeh site factsheet
Kazakhstan Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve site factsheet
Kazakhstan Tuzashchy and Karasor Lakes site factsheet
Kazakhstan Uyalyshalkar Lake System site factsheet
Kazakhstan Vicinity of Korgalzhyn village site factsheet
Kazakhstan Zhumay-Mayshukyr Lake System site factsheet
Latvia Engure lake site factsheet
Latvia Liepaja lake site factsheet
Latvia Teici and Pelecare bogs site factsheet
Latvia Ziemelu bogs site factsheet
Lithuania Birveta Fish-farm including segments of Dysna River and Birveta River valleys site factsheet
Lithuania Kretuonas Landscape Reserve site factsheet
Lithuania Nemunas delta regional Park site factsheet
Mali Lac Débo - Lac Oualado Débo site factsheet
Mali Lac Faguibine site factsheet
Mali Lac Horo site factsheet
Mali Timisobo - Képagou site factsheet
Mauritania Gâat Mahmoûdé site factsheet
Mauritania Gabou site factsheet
Mauritania Tâmourt en Na'âj site factsheet
Netherlands Groote Wielen site factsheet
Netherlands Ilperveld, Varkensland and Twiske site factsheet
Netherlands Lauwersmeer site factsheet
Netherlands Oostzanerveld site factsheet
Netherlands Oude Venen site factsheet
Netherlands Workumerwaard site factsheet
Netherlands Wormer-and Jisperveld site factsheet
Nigeria Hadejia-Nguru wetlands site factsheet
Pakistan Rann of Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary site factsheet
Poland Biebrza river valley site factsheet
Romania Buhuşu reservoir - Bacău - Tătărăşti site factsheet
Romania Câmpia Crişurilor site factsheet
Romania Cefa fish-ponds and Radvani wood site factsheet
Romania Comana site factsheet
Romania Danube Delta site factsheet
Romania Jijiei şi Miletinului fish-ponds site factsheet
Romania Lacurile Fălticeni site factsheet
Romania Maglavit site factsheet
Romania Miheşu de Câmpie-Taureni fish-ponds site factsheet
Romania Suhaia site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Batanakovskiye swamps site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Khadyn lake site factsheet
Russia (Central Asian) Dvuob'ye site factsheet
Russia (Central Asian) Krutali Lake site factsheet
Russia (Central Asian) Lower Ob' site factsheet
Russia (European) Burukshunskiye limans site factsheet
Russia (European) Kozinka lake and Baranikovski segment of Manych site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Sabkhat al-Fasl lagoons site factsheet
Senegal Djoudj wetlands site factsheet
Senegal Ndiaël basin (including the 'Trois Marigots') site factsheet
Senegal River Sénégal (Ntiagar to Richard-Toll) site factsheet
Slovakia Senné site factsheet
Slovenia Lake Cerknica site factsheet
Slovenia River Drava site factsheet
Somalia Far Waamo site factsheet
South Sudan Lake Abiad (South Sudan) site factsheet
Sudan Lake Abiad (Sudan) site factsheet
Sweden Muddus site factsheet
Tanzania Lake Manyara National Park site factsheet
Ukraine Syvash Bay site factsheet
United Kingdom Dungeness To Pett Levels site factsheet
United Kingdom Hamford Water site factsheet
United Kingdom Humber Estuary site factsheet
United Kingdom Lower Derwent Valley site factsheet
United Kingdom Martin Mere site factsheet
United Kingdom Mid-Essex Coast site factsheet
United Kingdom Nene Washes site factsheet
United Kingdom North Norfolk Coast site factsheet
United Kingdom Ouse Washes site factsheet
United Kingdom The Swale site factsheet
Uzbekistan Sudochye Lake site factsheet
Zambia Bangweulu Swamps site factsheet
Zambia Kafue Flats site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Irrigated Land (includes irrigation channels) suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land major non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable non-breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded suitable non-breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 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: Philomachus pugnax. Downloaded from on 12/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 12/07/2014.

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 Least Concern
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and allies)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 8,580,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species