Lesser Yellowlegs
(Tringa flavipes)

Summary

Picture of bird
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The Lesser Yellowlegs breeds in muskeg and open forests of the boreal ecozone. It winters in wetlands and agricultural fields as far north as the United States, but is most common in northern South America. Surveys during fall migration and on the breeding grounds suggest large decreases in the abundance of Lesser Yellowlegs in Canada since about 1970. Like several other shorebird species, Lesser Yellowlegs are still shot in large numbers by sport and subsistence hunters in winter. With about 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)Least Concern2014 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLarge DecreaseMedium
 

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

Climate change is expected to have a negative effect on boreal-breeding shorebirds through increased disturbance and displacement (e.g., increased fire frequency, duration and intensity, and loss of wetland habitat to forest drying - especially in the southern boreal; Stewart et al. 1998, Soja et al. 2006). Because the northern limit of the boreal forest is expected to advance much more slowly than the encroaching deciduous forests and grasslands from the south, reduction in the overall size of the boreal forest and thus available breeding habitat is possible (Stewart et al. 1998, Soja et al. 2006). Also, recent estimates suggest that 7,000-15,000 Lesser Yellowlegs are shot annually for sport in Barbados (Burke 2008), although shorebird conservation is increasingly recognised as an issue there (Burke 2009). Sport and subsistence hunting continue to threaten the species elsewhere during migration and winter (Tibbitts and Moskoff 2014), but quantitative estimates of harvest are lacking for many regions.

 

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
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - New Brunswick
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Nova Scotia
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Prince Edward Island
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Ontario Region
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern 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
Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves , sub-region and priority type: Atlantic Region - Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwestern Interior ForestNorthwestern Interior Forest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon 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: 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