Least Sandpiper
(Calidris minutilla)

Summary

Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (flickr.com/photos/jukka_jantunen)
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Least Sandpipers breed across subarctic and Low Arctic in wetlands and moist tundra. They migrate south in a broad front including interior habitats and both coasts. Surveys during migration suggest a moderate decrease in the Canadian population relative to about 1970, but with little change in the population more recently. However, poor precision in the results means this assessment is considered to have low reliability. With over 85% of the global breeding population, Canada's responsibility for the species is very high. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.

Designations

Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaModerate DecreaseLow
 

Population estimate

Canada500,000 - 1,000,000 adults (includes birds breeding and migrating within Canada)
 

Distribution maps

 

Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population

CanadaVery High

Conservation and management

Like many shorebirds, Least Sandpipers are reliant on a network of wetland and intertidal staging sites during migration. Conservation of natural, shallow wetlands in coastal or inland regions, and appropriate regulation of water levels in managed wetlands, can benefit Least Sandpipers and other shorebirds (Skagen and Knopf 1993). Additionally, conservation of coastal zones and intertidal flats will benefit Least Sandpipers and other shorebird species migrating along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

 

Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Arctic Plains and MountainsArctic Plains and Mountains, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Newfoundland and Labrador
Arctic Plains and MountainsArctic Plains and Mountains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Newfoundland and Labrador
Boreal Taiga PlainsBoreal Taiga Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - New Brunswick
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Newfoundland and Labrador
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Nova Scotia
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Prince Edward Island
Scotian ShelfScotian Shelf, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - New Brunswick
Scotian ShelfScotian Shelf, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Nova Scotia
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Newfoundland and Labrador
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Ontario Region
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Quebec Region
 

References