Population status

Buff-breasted Sandpiper
(Calidris subruficollis)

The Buff-breasted Sandpiper population is difficult to monitor effectively, and data necessary to clearly estimate population trends are currently lacking. Several site-specific studies and anecdotal evidence from the species' breeding grounds, migration stopover sites, and wintering grounds have suggested large decreases in the abundance of Buff-breasted Sandpipers (Lanctot et al. 2002, Lanctot et al. 2010 and references therein). However, these results are limited in geographic and temporal scope, not specific to Canada (though Canada hosts most of the breeding population) and are now dated. Previously unavailable trend estimates from migration monitoring surveys suggest that the continental population has increased relative to about 1970, but the estimates fluctuate widely and the low number of birds detected suggest that these results may be somewhat unreliable. Given the discrepancy in available information and the overall paucity of population status information, this species may be best assessed as being data deficient. As such, a national population goal relative to 1970 has not yet been determined. Once the Management Plan is developed under the Species at Risk Act, this assessment will be re-examined. Given the species' historical declines due to market hunting, habitat loss, and contamination (Bart and Smith 2012), and the fact that it is a species of special concern (COSEWIC 2012d), the species' current abundance is clearly below the lowest acceptable levels. Future assessments of status may be improved when results from the Arctic Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (Arctic PRISM) become available, though the species was one of the rarest species observed (Bart and Smith 2012).


Population goal and acceptable levels of variation

Species/groupGoalLower levelUpper level
Buff-breasted SandpiperAbundance required for de-listing (SARA)Equal to goalNot applicable

Analyses of Shorebird Migration Monitoring Data

Additional information on: Analyses of Shorebird Migration Monitoring Data

Table 1: Population trends by geographic area
Geographic areaTime PeriodAnnual Trend Table 1 - footnote 1 Limits