Degree of Threat: Low

Comments: Hydroelectric projects in Quebec and Labrador have had localized impacts on breeding habitat, but effects on the continental population probably have been small; urbanization and industrialization of many coastal bays and estuaries have degraded some winter habitat; chemical contamination and heavy metal accumulation of winter food supplies possibly may be affecting reproductive success of some populations (Kehoe 1994). Vulnerable to overharvest through hunting (Kehoe 1994).


Major Threats

Global Short Term Trend: Decline of 10-30%

Comments: For the period 1984-1994, estimated to be "declining in NW North America; possibly stable in Russia" (Goudie et al. 1994). However, available population data are generally inadequate for reliable determination of population trend (Kehoe 1994).

Global Long Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 50%



The total population is estimated to number c.530,000-830,000 individuals (Delany and Scott 2006), probably including c.350,000-560,000 mature individuals, on the basis that they probably account for around 2/3 of the population.

Population Trend


NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Large global population with very large and widely dispersed continental subpopulations, fairly low degree of threat, particularly on breeding grounds.

National NatureServe Conservation Status


Rounded National Status Rank: N5B,N4N : N5B: Secure - Breeding, N4N: Apparently Secure - Nonbreeding

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5B,N5N : N5B: Secure - Breeding, N5N: Secure - Nonbreeding

IUCN Red List Assessment

Red List Category
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria



Year Assessed



BirdLife International


Butchart, S.


Bowman, T., Moores, N. & Pihl, S.


In northern Quebec, egg laying began in the first week of June; hatching occurred in the second and third weeks of July (Savard and Lamothe, 1991, Can. Field-Nat. 105:488-496). Clutch size is 5-8 (often 8). Incubation lasts 27-28 days (Terres 1980). Young are tended by female, independent in 6-7 weeks (Harrison 1978).

Global Abundance

>1,000,000 individuals

Comments: No precise estimates available, but minimum numbers are at least 500,000 individuals in western Europe in winter (early 1970's) and 500,000 individuals in North America, with additional large numbers in eastern Asia (Madge and Burn 1988).

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300


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