Modelling the potential non-breeding distribution of Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea


Bradfer-Lawrence T, Beresford AE, Anderson GQA, Aung PP, Chang Q, Chowdhury SU, Clark NA, Gerasimov YN, Green RE, Hilton GM, Hughes B, Lappo EG, Li J, Syroechkovskiy EE & Tomkovich PS (2020) Modelling the potential non-breeding distribution of Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea. Bird Conservation International.

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea is a ‘Critically Endangered’ migratory shorebird. The species faces an array of threats in its non-breeding range, making conservation intervention essential. However, conservation efforts are reliant on identifying the species’ key stopover and wintering sites. Using Maximum Entropy models, we predicted Spoon-billed Sandpiper distribution across the non-breeding range, using data from recent field surveys and satellite tracking. Model outputs suggest only a limited number of stopover sites are suitable for migrating birds, with sites in the Yellow Sea and on the Jiangsu coast in China highlighted as particularly important. All the previously known core wintering sites were identified by the model including the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, Nan Thar Island and the Gulf of Mottama. In addition, the model highlighted sites subsequently found to be occupied, and pinpointed potential new sites meriting investigation, notably on Borneo and Sulawesi, and in parts of India and the Philippines. A comparison between the areas identified as most likely to be occupied and protected areas showed that very few locations are covered by conservation designations. Known sites must be managed for conservation as a priority, and potential new sites should be surveyed as soon as is feasible to assess occupancy status. Site protection should take place in concert with conservation interventions including habitat management, discouraging hunting, and fostering alternative livelihoods.

distribution modelling; flyway; migratory; shorebird

Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online Additional co-authors: Christoph Zockler, Graeme M Buchanan

Bird Conservation International

StatusIn Press
FundersNatural Environment Research Council
Publication date online30/09/2020
Date accepted by journal23/06/2020
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)