• photo: Khalid Sharif

    Protecting Spoon-billed Sandpipers in Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, and Thailand

In Brief


Sandwip Island and Sonadia Island in Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh; Nan Thar Island, in Rakhine state, Myanmar; Leizhou, Guandong province, China; and Pak Thale, Thailand.


Reduce the impacts of hunting (netting and nooses) on the spoon-billed sandpiper to stop and reverse their dramatic population decline.

Conservation Value:

The Critically Endangered spoon-billed sandpiper, which breeds in Russia and winters in Southeast Asia, is one of the world's most threatened shorebirds, with about 200 breeding pairs. Conservation effforts underway, including this project, give hope for the species. Intertidal mudflats along the East Asian–Australasian Flyway support more than 50 million migratory birds each year, including 33 globally threatened species, hence efforts for this species provide broader benefits. At present, 80 percent of the known population of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper winters in Myanmar, Bangladesh and China. 


Throughout its migratory range invertebrate-rich tidal flats are being converted to industrial use and adult birds are being hunted for food. There are no known immediate threats on its breeding grounds, but sea level rise and other effects of climate change are likely to be an impact throughout its range.  Many other shorebird species occupying these same habitats face the same threats and will also benefit from this project.

This spoon-billed sandpiper chick faces threats on its Asian wintering grounds that are being addressed by this project. Photo credit: Pavel Tomkovich

Actions & Results:

  • guarding sites to protect birds from hunting
  • developing livelihoods in farming and fishing as an alternative to hunting
  • establishing no-hunting bylaws among Village Conservation Groups
  • supporting local non-governmental organizations to increase awareness of hunting’s impact on this endangered bird.

Project Field Partner:

Project field coordinator Sayam U. Chowdhury, Assitant Coordinator of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Recovery Task Force, works with several partner organizations in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China.


2020 budget (ICFC portion): US$64,978
Cumulative cost to ICFC (2016-2019): CA$183,533

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In More Depth...

Program Partners and Personnel

Project field coordinator Sayam Chowdhury works with two local partner organizations:  the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project (BSCP) in Bangladesh. the Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) in Myanmar, and also with Vivian Fu of the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society in China. Village Conservation Groups are also key to this effort.  Other supporters of this work are the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund.

Images from the field

Photo credit: Sayam U. Chowdhury, except where indicated.

Project personnel search for spoonbills and other shorebirds. Photo credit: BANCA

Spoonbills feeding at their wintering areas.

A former hunter instructs students on shorebirds and their conservation needs.

A former hunter has a new means to earn his livelihood. photo credit: BSCP

Community meeting.  photo credit: BSCP


Children in 8 countries learn about the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper and help make an animated video about it.

A superb 5-minute unnarrated video by the Cornel Lab:

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