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Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Liz Bonnin presents the diminutive spoon-billed sandpiper of the high Russian tundra.

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Liz Bonnin presents the diminutive spoon-billed sandpiper of the high Russian tundra. Spoon-billed sandpipers are wading birds, no bigger than a house sparrow. They have rust-coloured feathers and a black, spoon-shaped bill for sifting tiny creatures from the mud or catching insects on the tundra of eastern Russia, where they breed. In winter they fly down to south-east Asian estuaries. Here they are increasingly threatened by the reclamation of mudflats for development and by local people who trap the waders in fine nests to eat. Today, there may be fewer than a thousand birds left. Now conservationists have taken some birds into captivity to establish a breeding stock, but others are being helped on their breeding grounds by headstarting, whereby adults are encouraged to lay a second clutch of eggs after the first are removed. Its hope that this work, plus encouraging local hunters in Asia to release any sandpipers caught in nets, will secure the spoon-billed sandpiper for future generations.

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2 minutes

Last on

Mon 9 Jul 2018 05:58

Spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus)

Webpage image courtesy of Wildfowl & Wetland Trust.

©  Wildfowl & Wetland Trust

Spoon-billed sandpiper conservation breeding programme

The spoon-billed sandpiper conservation breeding programme is a collaboration between WWT, Birds Russia, Moscow Zoo and the RSPB working with colleagues from the BTO, BirdLife International, ArcCona and the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force.

The project is supported by WWT, RSPB, Darwin Initiative and Save our Species, with additional financial contributions and support from BirdLife International, the East-Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership, the Convention on Migratory Species, Heritage Expeditions, the Australasian Wader Study Group of Birds Australia, the BBC Wildlife Fund, Avios, the Olive Herbert Charitable Trust, the Oriental Bird Club, British Airways Communities & Conservation Scheme, Leica Camera AG (exclusive optic partner for the spoon-billed sandpiper project) and many generous individuals.

More information about WWT's involvement in the project can be found here.

Recording of spoon-billed sandpiper provided by WWT

This programme contains some wildtrack recordings of the spoon-billed sandpiper kindly provided by WWT (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust).


  • Tue 6 Jan 2015 05:58
  • Mon 7 Dec 2015 05:58
  • Sun 13 Dec 2015 08:58
  • Mon 9 Jul 2018 05:58

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