Alle alle 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Charadriiformes Alcidae

Scientific Name: Alle alle (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Little Auk, Dovekie
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J.
This species has a very 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 extremely 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.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species breeds on islands of the high Arctic, being found on islands in the Bering Sea, from east Baffin Island (Canada), through Greenland (to Denmark), Iceland to Spitsbergen, Bear Island and the Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway), Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land, Russia.  It is migratory, expanding its range in winter to include the North Atlantic Ocean as far south as the United Kingdom and the north-east U.S.A. (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Countries occurrence:
Bahamas; Belgium; Bermuda; Canada; Cuba; Denmark; Faroe Islands; France; Germany; Greenland; Iceland; Ireland; Netherlands; Norway; Portugal; Russian Federation (Eastern Asian Russia, European Russia); Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Spain; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; Turks and Caicos Islands; United Kingdom; United States
Austria; Czech Republic; Finland; Gibraltar; Italy; Latvia; Malta; Poland; Ukraine
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:9130000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme 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.16,000,000-36,000,000 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1996).  However the European population alone was recently estimated at 9,200,000-82,000,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015) therefore the global population is likely to be considerably larger than the current estimate.

Trend Justification:  The population trend is decreasing in North America (based on BBS/CBC data: Butcher and Niven 2007).  The European population trend is unknown (BirdLife International 2015).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species feeds mainly on small invertebrates such as amphipods and euphausiids and on fish larvae.  The precise timing of its spring arrival at breeding colonies is variable depending on locality, from late February on Franz Josef Land to early May in north-west Greenland.  Immense colonies are formed on sea coasts, usually nesting in crevices in rock scree of maritime slopes and on coastal cliffs.  Colonies are abandoned in August with individuals seeking more southerly waters (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Systems:Terrestrial; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):15
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The following information refers to the species's European range only: This species is threatened by the current and future impacts of climate change, including temperature extremes, sea temperature rises and shifts and reductions in prey availability (Stempniewicz et al. 2007, Hovin et al. 2014).  As a pursuit diver the species is at risk from being caught in gillnets and driftnets (Žydelis et al. 2013), with the lumpsucker fisheries in Greenland estimated to catch significant numbers (Merkel et al. 2011).  As the species spends much of its life at sea, including at and below the sea surface, it is vulnerable to both chronic oil pollution and oil spill events.  Recent tracking research has indicated that important foraging grounds for the species overlap with expanding oil and gas extraction activities and shipping, which could lead to habitat degradation and displacement (Fort et al. 2013).  On land during its breeding season this species is exposed to predation from invasive alien predators, which could increase in severity as climate change allows the northward movement of predators.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The following information refers to the species's European range only: The species is listed under the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement.  It is one of the species considered within the Action Plan for Seabirds in Western-Nordic Areas (Nordiska Ministerrådet 2010).  There are 18 marine Important Bird Areas across the European region for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
The following information refers to the species's European range only: Further identification of important sites for this species, particularly in offshore regions and designation as marine protected areas; Identify the risks of different activities on seabirds, and locations sensitive to seabirds.  Management of fisheries to ensure long term sustainability of key stocks.  Establish observer schemes for bycatch and prepare national plans of action on seabird bycatch.  Develop codes-of-conduct for more organised activities (e.g. tourism).  Ensure that appropriate protection (national laws and international agreements) applies to new areas and times in case of changes in seabird migration routes and times.

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Map revised.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Alle alle (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22694837A110636471. . Downloaded on 15 August 2018.
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