Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

Shorebird Status

Click here to download an Excel spreadsheet of the Status of Shorebirds of Conservation Concern for the Western Hemisphere (updated 15 February 2007). Criteria used are:

Snowy plover
  1. small population size
  2. known or suspected population declines
  3. habitat loss or high threat of such loss
  4. (in a few cases) severe gaps in knowledge

There are 117 shorebirds species native to the Western Hemisphere. Of these, 11 species are classified as non-breeding visitors and 19 species are considered casual. Only nine species of shorebirds have broad breeding ranges that include some portions of North, Central and South America. There are 51 and 27 shorebird species that breed only in North and South America, respectively.

North American Species

The U. S. Shorebird Conservation Plan (USSCP), considers 53 species of shorebirds. Of these, the USSCP identifies seven species "highly imperiled" and 21 "species of high concern." Thus, more than half (28) of the 53 shorebird species that breed in North America are at grave risk.

The USSCP groups species as:

  • Global species — restricted to breeding in Canada or the U.S.
  • North American populations — occurring elsewhere in the northern or western hemispheres, with concern focused on North American breeding populations

Highly Imperiled

  • Global species
    • Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)
    • Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus)
    • Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus)
    • Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis)
  • North American populations
    • Snowy Plover (Charadius alexandrinus)
    • Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus himantopus knudseni), Hawaiian population
    • Red Knot (Calidris canutus)

High Concern

  • Global species
    • American Golden-Plover (Pluvialis dominica)
    • Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani)
    • Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria)
    • Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda)
    • Bristle-thighed Curlew (Numenius tahitiensis)
    • Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica)
    • Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)
    • Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala)
    • Surfbird (Aphriza virgata)
    • Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)
    • Rock Sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis)
    • Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)
    • American Woodcock (Scolopax minor)
    • Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
  • North American populations
    • Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wilsonia)
    • American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus)
    • Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
    • Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)
    • Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
    • Red Knot (Calidris canutus), populations other than Canadian Arctic-Atlantic Coast population
    • Sanderling (Calidris alba)
    • Dunlin (Calidris alpina), Alaska-East Asian and Alaska-Pacific Coast populations

For further information about this shorebird species assessment, go to U. S. Shorebird Conservation Plan and Council: Assesments, and click on "Priority Shorebirds — August 2004."

For information about the updated shorebird population estimates, go to U. S. Shorebird Conservation Plan and Council: Assesments, and click on "Biogeographic Shorebird Populations of WHSRN Thresholds — December 2005."

South American Species

Much less is known about the 27 shorebird species that do not breed in North America, often called the Neotropical shorebirds. In fact, they are one of the least well-known groups of shorebirds in the world. WHSRN and partners in South America are committed to resolving this problem through research and conservation action.

Neotropical Shorebirds Species List:

  • Peruvian Thick-knee (Burhinus superciliaris)
  • Pied Lapwing (Vanellus cayanus)
  • Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis)
  • Andean Lapwing (Vanellus resplendens)
  • Puna Plover (Charadrius alticola)
  • Two-banded Plover (Charadrius falklandicus)
  • Rufous-chested Dotterel (Charadrius modestus)
  • Diademed Plover (Phegornis mitchellii)
  • Tawny-throated Dotterel (Oreopholus ruficollis)
  • Magellanic Plover (Pluvianellus socialis)
  • Magellanic Oystercatcher (Haematopus leucopodus)
  • Blackish Oystercatcher (Haematopus ater)
  • Andean Avocet (Recurvirostra andina)
  • Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana)
  • South American Painted-Snipe (Nycticryphes semicollaris)
  • South American Snipe (Gallinago paraguaiae)
  • Puna Snipe (Gallinago andina)
  • Noble Snipe (Gallinago nobilis)
  • Giant Snipe (Gallinago undulata)
  • Fuegian Snipe (Gallinago stricklandii)
  • Andean Snipe (Gallinago jamesoni)
  • Imperial Snipe (Gallinago imperialis)
  • Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe (Attagis gayi)
  • White-bellied Seedsnipe (Attagis malouinus)
  • Gray-breasted Seedsnipe (Thinocorus orbignyianus)
  • Least Seedsnipe (Thinocorus rumicivorus)
  • Snowy Sheathbill (Chionis albus)