The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.
Range & Status
Palearctic; in Britain and Ireland the 107,000 breeding pairs represent 48% of the European population; 164,700 winter (40% of the West European total). Breeding numbers known to be declining through loss of damp heathland.
Cornwall: until quite recently bred quite widely on moorland and heathland through Cornwall. It has suffered marked decrease since 1970; by 1992 only five pairs on Bodmin Moor (compared with at least 22 in 1984) and one on The Lizard. Large numbers assemble on estuaries, with peaks totalling 3-4000 (3% of British and Irish total) in late summer and midwinter, the principal sites being the Camel, Hayle and Lynher estuaries. Isles of Scilly: small numbers on passage and in winter.
Habitat & Ecology
Breeds on moorland and heathland. Winter numbers scattered over farmland and
estuaries, assembling on estuaries to roost.
Loss of damp moorland through creation of Colliford, Crowdy and Siblyback reservoirs has decimated the Bodmin Moor breeding population. Improvement of marginal land through drainage, the encroachment of agriculture and afforestation onto heathland are other reasons for the decrease.
Formerly a quarry species but now protected under Annexe 11/2 of the European Union Conservation of Wild Birds Directive. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995). The main sites are SSSI; Hayle estuary is a RSPB nature reserve and the Lynher is within a SPA.
I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.
The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.