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 38,000 breeding pairs; 125,000 in winter (60% of
European winter population).
Cornwall: very sporadic breeder, one successful pair at an undisclosed site in 1980, and a pair possibly attempted nesting on the eastern side of Bodmin Moor in 1988. Common passage migrant and winter visitor to all estuaries, with peaks of 1500-2000 in autumn and winter; the Tamar complex holds 7-800 at peak times (1% of British and Irish total). Numbers have declined by 25% since 1975. Isles of Scilly: small numbers on passage and in winter.
Habitat & Ecology
Winters scattered over tidal flats, gathering for communal roosts. Breeds primarily in extensive meadows, especially by estuaries, but few pairs breed in south-west and is unlikely to become a regular breeding species in Cornwall.
Drainage has contributed to a decline of inland breeding numbers, both in Britain and parts of Europe. Its nervous disposition makes it vulnerable to disturbance, thus estuary developments of any kind should be discouraged.
The main sites are SSSI; the Tamar complex is proposed for SPA status and is partly a Cornwall Wildlife Trust reserve. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).
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.