Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Critically Endangered

Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea)


French: Bécasseau spatule German: Löffelstrandläufer Spanish: Correlimos cuchareta

Platalea pygmea

[sic] Linnaeus

, 1758,

Suriname = eastern Asia


Hitherto usually placed in monotypic genus, Eurynorhynchus, but sometimes included in present genus; recent study supports its treatment within Calidris#R (see also under Tribe Calidrini). Emendation of specific name is required on basis of correct Latin. Monotypic.


Chukotskiy Peninsula S to N Kamchatka. Wintering area not well known, but main wintering grounds are in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand; recorded in winter also locally from SE India and Sri Lanka to Indochina and S China, and S to Singapore and Philippines.

Descriptive notes

14–16 cm; male averages 29·5 g, one female 34 g; wingspan 32–38 cm. Small wader closely resembling other Calidris, but has spatulate bill; in... read more


On breeding grounds gives a series of short, insect-like shrill buzzes, rendered “zhree-zhree-zhree... read more


Nests on sea coasts with sparsely vegetated sandy ridges near lakes and marshes, often near a river... read more

Food and feeding

Terrestrial insects, including beetles, Hymenoptera and Diptera, small seeds, larvae of beetles and small aquatic amphipods; in winter,... read more


Nests Jun–Jul. Monogamous, usually for more than one season; parents feed in territory, but also in communal feeding areas. Site... read more


Migratory. Moves along coasts of E Asia. During non-breeding season occurs at scattered localities... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. One of the most charismatic of the world’s endangered bird species, it has attracted considerable attention since its plight became apparent.... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P., Sharpe, C.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 February 2020).