(Alle alle)


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

The Dovekie is a small seabird that feeds on zooplankton and breeds in rocky, coastal, High Arctic habitats. Although its global population size is estimated at over 100 million individuals, the vast majority is found in Greenland, Svalbard and the Russian Arctic. Fewer than 1,000 pairs are believed to breed at the single known breeding location in Canada, though millions likely overwinter off the Atlantic coast. Currently, there are too few data to describe trends in the Canadian population’s abundance. Similarly, threats specific to the Canadian population are equally unclear. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Vulnerable2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaData DeficientData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada100 - 500 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

Dovekies are hunted throughout the year in Greenland by subsistence and commercial hunters, and were formerly hunted in Newfoundland in winter (Merkel and Barry 2008). Dovekies are vulnerable to a number of anthropogenic threats, including oiling, heavy metal contamination, and plastic ingestion (Wiese and Ryan 2003, Fort et al. 2014, Fife et al. 2015, Avery-Gomm et al. 2016). Because wintering locations for the small Canadian breeding population are unknown, the impact of these, or other anthropogenic threats, is unknown.


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
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NL -- Conservation
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NS -- Conservation
Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves , sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NL -- Conservation
Scotian ShelfScotian Shelf, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NB -- Conservation
Scotian ShelfScotian Shelf, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NS -- Conservation