Population status

(Numenius phaeopus)

During southbound migration, Whimbrel from the western Arctic stage along the coast of British Columbia and the northwest United States (Skeel and Mallory 1996), through central Canada and also along the Atlantic coast. Whimbrel from the eastern Arctic also migrate up and down the Atlantic coast (Center for Conservation Biology 2014). Trend estimates from migration monitoring surveys suggest that the abundance of Whimbrel has shown a large decrease (-58%) relative to about 1970, most of which has been concentrated in the last decade or so (see graph below). However, these surveys do not provide good coverage of the migration habitat that Whimbrels use (J. Paquet, ECCC, pers. comm). Surveys on the mid-Atlantic staging area over a 15-year period (1994-2009) found a 3.3% average annual rate of decline (Watts and Truitt 2011). Based on the migration monitoring surveys, the national population status is perhaps best assessed as having shown a large decrease since the early 1970s. Because of the imprecise estimates of trends and indices, sparse data, and because these surveys may miss a substantial portion of the population, this assessment is considered to be of low reliability. Future assessments of status may be improved when results from the Arctic Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (Arctic PRISM) become available. The Whimbrel fell below the lowest acceptable level relative to its national population goal in the mid-2000s (see graph below).


Population goal and acceptable levels of variation

Species/groupGoalLower levelUpper level
WhimbrelMean abundance (first 5 years of survey)Goal minus 25% Not 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
North America Select to view graph of the geographic area: North America 1974-2016; Analyses of Shorebird Migration Monitoring Data1974-2016-2.1-3.80.5