WatchList Species Account for Stilt Sandpiper
(Calidris himantopus)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species


Photo: Mark Hoffman

The Stilt Sandpiper, a relatively uncommon shorebird, has a disjunct breeding range in northern Canada and Alaska, and winters principally in central and southern South America. Once an abundant breeder around Churchill, Manitoba, its numbers have declined by more than 70% there since the 1960s; the cause is apparently overgrazing of nesting habitat by Snow and Canada geese, whose populations have grown explosively.


At the same time, it is said to have become a more common migrant through Alberta and there has been a
3- to 4-fold increase of the bird noted at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska; this suggests a westward shift in the range, but whether or not there has been in overall population change is unknown.


Changes in land-use in its South American wintering range may be a factor potentially damaging to its populations.