Semipalmated Sandpiper
(Calidris pusilla)

Summary

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

Semipalmated Sandpipers breed in coastal tundra of the subarctic and Low Arctic. Surveys conducted throughout Canada and the United States during fall migration suggest that the species has decreased substantially in abundance in Canada relative to about 1970, especially prior to 1990. The decreases may be most pronounced for those birds breeding in the eastern Arctic and migrating through Atlantic Canada. Legal and illegal hunting in South America is a significant threat to the species, and may be implicated in the observed declines (Hicklin and Gratto-Trevor 2010). With over 80% of the global breeding population, Canada's responsibility for the species is very high. The species is a candidate wildlife species for assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 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)Near threatened2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Sensitive2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLarge DecreaseMedium
 

Population estimate

Canada> 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

Semipalmated Sandpipers are hunted, legally and illegally, in northern South America to an extent that could have effects at the population level (Hicklin and Gratto-Trevor 2010). In the Bay of Fundy, loss of access to historical roost sites as a result of increased recreational activities may be the biggest threat to these sandpipers (J. Paquet, Environment Canada, pers. comm.). Like many shorebirds, Semipalmated Sandpipers are reliant on a network of staging sites during migration. Reduced availability of prey, such as horseshoe crab eggs in Delaware Bay can affect Semipalmated Sandpipers at these key migratory staging sites (e.g., Botton et al. 1994, Nettleship 2000).

 

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
Arctic Plains and MountainsArctic Plains and Mountains, sub-region and priority type: Quebec Region
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Quebec Region
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Newfoundland and Labrador
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Quebec Region
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
Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence PlainLower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain, sub-region and priority type: Ontario Region
Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence PlainLower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain, sub-region and priority type: Quebec Region
Northwestern Interior ForestNorthwestern Interior Forest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon Region
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region
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: Prairie and Northern Region
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Quebec Region
 

References