Calidris maritima


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Calidris maritima
Species Authority: (Brünnich, 1764)
Common Name(s):
English Purple Sandpiper
French Bécasseau violet

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Belgium; Canada; Denmark; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Germany; Greenland; Iceland; Ireland; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Russian Federation; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Spain; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; United Kingdom; United States
Austria; Belarus; Cape Verde; Croatia; Czech Republic; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Kazakhstan; Latvia; Libya; Malta; Montenegro; Morocco; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Switzerland; Ukraine
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is fully migratory (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998). It arrives on the breeding grounds from mid-May to mid-June where it nests in solitary pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and forages in small loose groups (Snow and Perrins 1998). From July to August the adults undergo a flightless moulting period on the coast close to the nesting areas before travelling to the wintering grounds in September and November (Hayman et al. 1986). During the non-breeding season the species is gregarious and usually forms small flocks of up to 250 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding The species breeds on Arctic coasts (Hayman et al. 1986) and in upland areas (Johnsgard 1981, Flint et al. 1984, Hayman et al. 1986), nesting close to the fringes of snow and ice (del Hoyo et al. 1996) on wet moss or barren rocky tundra with patches of lichen and Dryas spp., on rocky islands and islets or on shingle beaches (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It forages on dry tundra or along the moist margins of ponds, at the edges of melting snow-drifts and in areas of thick moss (Hayman et al. 1986). Non-breeding During the winter and on passage the species shows a preference for tidal rocky shores with strong wave action (Hayman et al. 1986) and suitable high-tide roosting areas (del Hoyo et al. 1996), often utilising artificial structures such as concrete sea defences and breakwaters (Hayman et al. 1986). In some northern areas (e.g. Svalbard) the species frequents mudflats, shingle beaches and coastal lagoons before and after breeding but before migrating south (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Breeding During the breeding season its diet consists largely of insects (e.g. adult, larval and pupal Diptera, Ichneumon wasps and aphids) and Collembola (springtails), as well as spiders, gastropods, annelid worms and some plant material (e.g. leaves, buds, berries and seeds) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding On the coast the species feeds predominantly upon molluscs (especially gastropods Littorina spp. and mussels Mytilus spp.) as well as insects (e.g. beetles and Diptera), small crustaceans (e.g. amphipods), annelid worms (del Hoyo et al. 1996), small fish (Johnsgard 1981) and algae (Enteromorpha spp.) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a small scrape positioned in the open on tundra moss (del Hoyo et al. 1996), in hummocky tundra (Flint et al. 1984) close to tufts of Dryas spp. or Arctostaphylos spp. (Johnsgard 1981), or in rocky or pebbly areas between cliffs (Flint et al. 1984).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Calidris maritima. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
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