Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Charadriiformes Scolopacidae

Scientific Name: Limnodromus semipalmatus
Species Authority: (Blyth, 1848)
Common Name(s):
English Asian Dowitcher, Asiatic Dowitcher
French Limnodrome semipalmé
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A. & Butchart, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Mahood, S.
This species is classified as Near Threatened because, although it is quite widespread, it has a moderately small population overall and this is thought to be in decline, owing primarily to destruction of its wintering grounds (BirdLife International 2001). An even more rapid population decline may take place in the future owing to climate change.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2006 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Limnodromus semipalmatus has a disjunct breeding range in the steppe regions that extend from west to east Siberia, Russia, and south into Mongolia and Heilongjiang in north-east China. It has been recorded as a non-breeding visitor to Japan, North Korea, South Korea, mainland China, Hong Kong (China), Taiwan (China), Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. The population size is estimated at 23,000 individuals (Bamford et al. in prep). It is dependent on a rather small number of wetlands, notably the wintering sites at the Banyuasin Delta on Sumatra, where up to 13,000 were estimated in 1988 (BirdLife International 2001), and Ujung Pangkah in east Java.

Countries occurrence:
Australia; Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Japan; Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Malaysia; Mongolia; Myanmar; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Russian Federation; Singapore; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Uzbekistan; Viet Nam
Kenya; Sri Lanka; Yemen
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 607000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number c.23,000 individuals (Bamford et al. in prep), while national population sizes have been estimated at < c.100 breeding pairs and < c.10,000 individuals on migration in China and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend Justification:  There are no data on population trends; however, the species is probably in decline owing to pollution and development on the wintering grounds. In the future, these declines may be intensified by habitat shifts on the breeding grounds, caused by global warming.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is migratory but its movements are not well known (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds in small colonies of 6-20 pairs often with White-winged Terns Chlidonias leucopterus, and although the timing and location of breeding varies considerably depending on water levels, most females lay between late-May and early-June (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Neighbouring nests are spaced 4-350 m apart (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Birds arrive in the wintering grounds in September (del Hoyo et al. 1996), returning usually in April (del Hoyo et al. 1996), although some small groups remain in the wintering range during the boreal summer (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It is a gregarious species, that occurs in small flocks during migration  (Johnsgard 1981). At other times it occurs in pairs or small groups, with larger flocks of over 100 individuals roosting or feeding together at favoured sites (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding It breeds in extensive freshwater wetlands in the steppe and forest steppe zones. Suitable habitats include lake shores, river deltas, flooded meadows and grassy bogs along rivers with short grass and sedge vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and areas of bare mud  (Johnsgard 1981). It is also found on the boggy shores of alkaline ponds  (Johnsgard 1981), and has been observed in rice fields (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding During the non-breeding season it occurs in sheltered coastal environments, primarily estuarine and intertidal mudflats, lagoons, creeks and saltworks (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It will also roost on sandy beaches or in shallow lagoons during this season (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Breeding On the breeding grounds its diet consists of small fish, insect larvae and oligochaetes (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding On migration and in its wintering range, it feeds on polychaetes, insect larvae and molluscs (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nests of one colony were reported to be sited either on mounds among reeds in shallow water, or in the open, in hollows almost devoid of cover  (Johnsgard 1981). On bare ground the nest is a shallow depression lined with grass (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Those found over water are created from grass stalks and dead leaves  (Johnsgard 1981). They are sometimes found up to 8-12 cm above water that is 25 cm deep (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 5.8
Movement patterns: Full Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It may be particularly vulnerable to habitat loss in its breeding grounds as a result of the drainage of wetlands for agriculture, or their drying-out as a result of climate change (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It may also be vulnerable to hunting, pollution and other pressures on both the breeding and wintering grounds. Wetland loss and degradation along its migration route is a potential threat, especially in the Yellow Sea where c.40% stage during northward migration (Barter 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II.The species is included in the action plan for Australian Birds 2010 (Garnett et al. 2011).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to improve knowledge of breeding and wintering grounds. Regularly monitor the population at important sites on both the breeding and wintering grounds. Oppose developments that threaten key wintering sites.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Limnodromus semipalmatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22693351A38294260. . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided