WatchList Species Account for Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) |
the list as a Red List Species
Photo: © Robert
Unlike any other North American shorebird,
the Buff-breasted Sandpiper has a lek mating system. The males
defend small display territories to which the females are
attracted. After mating the females leave to nest and raise
the young elsewhere. The bird feeds mostly on invertebrates.
This species is among the shorebirds that migrate vast distances
between breeding and wintering grounds; the Buff-breasted
nests in the high arctic in dry, elevated tundra with sparse
vegetation along the coast of the Arctic Ocean in eastern
Siberia and Alaska to islands in the Canadian Arctic and winters
on the pampas of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Once believed to number in the millions,
loss of habitat along its migration path and in its wintering
grounds severely diminished its numbers, as did commercial
hunting, particularly since the bird is extremely tame and
tends to return to a wounded flock member. It is now thought
to number some 15,000 individuals. During migration it frequents
short-grass areas such as pastures, turf farms, golf courses,
and airports and recently harvested agricultural fields.
Pesticide use has been implicated in the
deaths of individuals feeding on treated rice seed. In winter
it prefers wet grassland areas heavily grazed by livestock
but away from human activity. Management that would benefit
the bird on the wintering grounds includes limiting organochlorine
applications in agricultural areas and maintaining pasturelands
and grazing to yield suitable grass height. On the breeding
grounds there is a threat from the effects of oil development.