Distribution Britain 9 (-50.0%) Ireland 1 (-75.0%)
Numbers breeding: Britain 38 RBBP Ireland 1
European status: 80,000 (0% in Britain and Ireland)
British population trend: very precarious
These delicate waders are found on and around shallow pools in the far north and west. Early records imply breeding in several places on mainland Scotland but were much persecuted by collectors. By 1900 the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland were the only regular breeding sites but they were also discovered in Mayo. The subsequent peak of 50 pairs was rather short lived and the Irish population dwindled to a handful up to 25 for 1967-71 and, despite a few records away from Mayo, now seldom register more than one or two pairs. In Scotland regular breeding on Orkney stopped 25 years ago, it is only very sporadic on the mainland and very few breed now on the Western Isles. Their stronghold is Shetland, and particularly Fetlar, where 37 males raised at least 54 young in 1997 through careful habitat management by the RSPB. Very worrying effectively having only two breeding sites.
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From The State of the Nations Birds
Copyright © 2000 by Chris Mead