The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.
Range & Status
Siberia to Greenland; in Britain and Ireland 295,000 in winter.
Cornwall: winter visitor and passage migrant in small numbers to major estuaries (totalling 50-70 birds); a drastic decline since 1960s with desertion of St. John' s Lake which now holds less than 30 (1,000+ in 1960s). Isles of Scilly: scarce on passage.
Habitat & Ecology
Wide estuarine flats. Feeding in closely-packed parties.
Decline of Cornwall wintering population is mirrored in Ireland and France, and has been attributed to severe decrease in populations breeding in Greenland and east Canada in 1970s. Signs of a gradual increase raises hopes that they might return.
Most sites are SSSI. Protected under Annexe 11/2 of the European Union Conservation of Wild Birds Directive. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).
I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.
The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.