Asian coastal zones for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Can this species be saved from extinction?

With this transnational project the Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung is investigating the causes of the drastic decline in the population of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus), which breeds in Siberia and migrates as far as India. The foundation is committed to its survival and the protection of its coastal habitats and mudflats - on behalf of all waders on the East-Asian bird migration route.  



This charismatic wading bird with its spoon-shaped beak is on the verge of extinction and in 2008 BirdLife International classified it as globally "threatened with extinction" in the Red List. The population has shrunk by a good 80 % since the 1970s to less than estimated 300 pairs today.

Since 2000, Dr. Christoph Zöckler, pioneering expert of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and employee of our foundation since 2007, is documenting the dramatic decline of breeding pairs in Siberia. He investigates the causes and coordinates the international protection team of the endangered sandpiper. All signs indicate that especially habitat loss and hunting on the coasts of East Asia on the migration route and in the winter areas have contributed significantly to the decline of the spoon-billed sandpiper - and also other wader species. This species is an important indicator of the state of these coastal ecosystems.

Together with Birds Russia we have established a "Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force" as a working group of the East Asian Flyway Partnership EAAFP. We have succeeded in uniting twelve coastal states from Russia to Bangladesh for the protection of the charismatic Spoon-billed Sandpiper. The objectives are the preservation and restoration of the Asian coastal regions for the sustainable protection of many bird species that depend on these habitats. We support the political work through our own campaign offices in Shanghai and Yangon, financing an employee of the Nature Conservation Society Myanmar, and with projects to raise awareness among local people (e.g. against bird trapping in Bangladesh and Myanmar).  


2020 in Myanmar: Wintering area in the Gulf of Mottama with 160,000 ha protected as Ramsar site!

2018 in China: 40,000 ha of Spoon-billed Sandpiper resting area and further tidal flats protected as a natural heritage proposal in the Yellow Sea!

Follow-up activities

In Myanmar we found the most valuable coastal wetlands and the Ayeyarwady River by way of the discovered main wintering area of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper. For these species-rich ecosystems, long-term conservation concepts have to be developed and politically implemented.  Since then, our foundation has been active in various coastal and inshore wetland projects and with various partners in Myanmar.

Further information