Redshank, Curlew and Lapwing numbers down almost 50% in 25 years


The most recent BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) report gives a stark warning for our breeding waders. The UK holds internationally vital numbers of breeding waders and it’s worrying to report their continued decline – Redshank is down by 49%, Curlew and Lapwing by 48%, Frequent Sandpiper by 28% and Oystercatcher by 22% over the past 25 years

For a lot of of those wader species, land administration measures akin to delicate woodland and forestry planning, water degree management, the creation or restoration of moist areas and implementing useful grazing practices and delaying grassland mowing regimes may also help increase breeding productiveness regionally.

Predation impacts in lots of areas can restrict breeding success for some wader species, akin to Curlew and Lapwing. Waders are additionally affected by new forestry inside vital breeding areas, which take away the open landscapes they should nest and might act as a driver of excessive predation strain.

Lapwing nest in upland and lowland grasslands and moorlands, together with spring-sown crops. Farmers may also help by offering a mosaic of nesting and damp feeding habitats and creating ‘lapwing plots’ amongst crop fields.

Oystercatchers breed each inland and on the coast and analysis means that at some UK coastal websites, they may very well be negatively impacted by shellfish harvesting.

Frequent Redshank, copyright Glyn Sellors, from the surfbirds galleries

Frequent Sandpiper usually favour the sides of streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and lochs. The problems going through the species are as but unclear; some options embody disturbance by people through the breeding season, together with pressures of their West African wintering grounds or alongside migration routes, however extra work is required to research the decline.

It’s not all dangerous information although. General, 39 species had statistically vital long-term will increase within the UK, with Little Egret, a latest colonist of the UK from Europe, seeing its numbers enhance by 2,380%. Pink Kites are additionally doing nicely, up by 1,935% between 1995 and 2020, after being reintroduced to England, Scotland and Northern Eire.

Sarah Harris, BBS Organiser at BTO, mentioned “We’ve been overwhelmed by the assist of BBS volunteers throughout the UK in 2021. Following the challenges confronted, each private and with authorities restrictions because of the COVID19 pandemic, it was unbelievable to see the survey protection bounce-back in 2021, permitting UK inhabitants tendencies to be calculated as soon as once more. Thanks to everybody concerned within the survey. The info BBS volunteers accumulate actually does make a distinction for chook conservation prioritisation, and in influencing and monitoring coverage selections.”

Paul Woodcock, JNCC, mentioned, “Knowledge sources such because the Breeding Bird Survey are actually key for figuring out modifications in nature and understanding the results of various administration interventions. This highlights the impression that land use selections can have on nature conservation efforts. These kinds of insights actually display the worth of the large-scale, long-term datasets created by means of surveys such because the BBS and the large significance of volunteers concerned in them. Thanks to everybody who contributes.”

Simon Wotton, RSPB Senior Conservation Scientist, mentioned “While the outcomes listed here are sobering, the Breeding Bird Survey highlights the necessity for good knowledge within the position of conservation. The outcomes of this survey, together with many different unbelievable surveys, feed into nationwide assessments akin to Birds of Conservation Concern. This enables nature organisations and governmental our bodies to establish which species ought to urgently be prioritised for motion.”

The BBS Report 2021 feeds again data on 118 variety of species, to learn the complete report, go to


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