Population information

Order name Charadriiformes
Family name Haematopodidae
Scientific name Haematopus ostralegus Common name Eurasian Oystercatcher
Population name ostralegus, Europe/South & West Europe & NW Africa
Breeding range N, C & W Europe Non-breeding range Coastal W Europe, N & W Africa
Red List Category Near Threatened
Ramsar regions Africa Europe

Conservation Framework

Conservation framework Notes

Population size

Publication Start year End year Minimum Maximum Estimate quality Notes References Actions
WPE 1 0 0 874,000 874,000 [R599]
WPE 2 0 0 874,000 874,000 [R599]
WPE 4 1990 2000 1,020,000 1,020,000 [R611]
WPE 3 1990 2000 1,020,000 1,020,000 [R611]
WPE 5 2006 2006 820,000 820,000 Expert opinion [R908]
CSR 4 2006 2006 820,000 820,000 Expert opinion [R908]
CSR 5 2006 2006 820,000 820,000 Expert opinion [R908]
CSR 6 1990 2012 850,000 950,000 Expert opinion [S8267] [R1362] [R1361] [R1365] [R1546]
CSR 7 2000 2013 850,000 950,000 Expert opinion [S8955] [R1549]

Population trends

Publication Start year End year Trend Trend quality Notes References Actions
WPE 1 1975 1985 INC [R599]
WPE 2 1975 1985 INC [R599]
WPE 4 1984 1997 DEC [T993] [R611]
WPE 3 1984 1997 INC [R611]
WPE 5 1997 2007 DEC Reasonable [T4305] [R888]
CSR 4 2006 2006 DEC Reasonable [T996] [R908]
CSR 5 1997 2007 DEC Reasonable [T995] [R888]
CSR 6 2003 2012 DEC Reasonable [T6358] [R1381] [R1362] [R1361] [R1546]
CSR 7 2006 2015 STA/DEC? Reasonable [T7028] [R1548] [R1549] [R1559]

Population 1% level

Publication Yearset 1 percent Note
WPE 1 1994 9000
WPE 2 1997 9000
WPE 4 2006 10200
WPE 3 2002 10200
WPE 5 2012 8200
CSR 4 0 -1
CSR 5 0 -1
CSR 6 0 -1
CSR 7 2018 8200


  • R599 - Smit, C.J. and Piersma, T. 1989. Numbers, midwinter distribution, and migration of wader populations using the East Atlantic Flyway. In: Boyd, H. and Pirot, J.-Y. (eds). Flyways and Reserves Networks. IWRB Special Publication No. 9. 1989. Slimbridge, UK.
  • R611 - Stroud, D.A., Davidson, N.C., West, R., Scott, D.A., Haanstra, L., Thorup, O., Ganter, B. and Delany, S. (compilers) on behalf of the International Wader Study Group 2002. Status of migratory wader populations in Africa and Western Eurasia in the 1990s.
  • R908 - Pol, M. van de, Atkinson, P., Blew, J., Crowe, O., Delany, S., Duriez, O., Ens, B., H?lterlein, B., H?tker, H., Laursen, K., Oosterbeek, K., Petersen, A., Thorup, O., Tj?rve, K., Triplet, P., and Y?sou, P. In press, 2007. A global assessment of the conservation status of the nominate subspecies of Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus ostralegus).
  • R888 - Wetlands International, 2012. Results of trend analysis undertaken for CSR5 2012, presented in Annex 4. http://www.unep-aewa.org/meetings/en/mop/mop5_docs/pdf/mop5_14_csr5.pdf
  • R1362 - European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity (in prep) Population and trend data provided by the EU Member States in the frame of their reporting under Article 12 of the EU Birds Directive. Online fact sheets. European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity, Paris. URL: http://bd.eionet.europa.eu/activities/Reporting/Article_12/Reports_2013/Member_State_Deliveries. Accessed on 31 July 2014.
  • R1361 - BirdLife International, BTO, EBCC, CSO, IUCN, RSPB, SOVON, Wetlands International (in prep) Population and trend data provided to the European Red List of Birds Project funded by the European Commission. Digital dataset. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK. Accessed on 31 July 2014.
  • R1365 - Wetlands International, International Waterbird Census, unpublished data, 2014.
  • R1546 - van Roomen M., Nagy S., Foppen R., Dodman T., Citegetse G. & Ndiaye A. (in prep). Status of coastal waterbird populations in the East Atlantic Flyway. Programme Rich Wadden Sea, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, Sovon, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands, BirdLife International, Cambridge, United Kingdom &, Wadden Sea Secretariat, Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
  • R1381 - Nagy, S., Flink, S., Langendoen, T. (2014) Waterbird trends 1988-2012: Results of trend analyses of data from the International Waterbird Census in the African-Eurasian Flyway. Wetlands International, Ede.
  • R1549 - BirdLife International 2015. European Red List of Birds. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. http://datazone.birdlife.org/info/euroredlist
  • R1548 - Wetlands International (2017) Flyway trend analyses based on data from the African-Eurasian Waterbird Census from the period of 1967-2015. Ede, The Netherlands: Wetlands International. URL: http://iwc.wetlands.org/index.php/aewatrends
  • R1559 - BirdLife International (2017) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/09/2017.


  • T993 - Decrease of Dutch Wadden Sea population from 266,000 in 1980s to 177,000 in late 1990s mainly a consequence of food shortage (548). 700: Decrease in modelled population between 1989 and 2002 in NW Europe from 962,000 to 733,000.
  • T4305 - Wetlands International 2012. Trend 1983-2007: -1.6% p.a. ? Significant long-term decline.
  • T996 - Decrease estimated in 918 not apparent in 914.
  • T995 - 898. Trend 1983-2007: -1.6% p.a. – Significant long-term decline.
  • S8267 - National breeding population estimates from the EU Birds Directive Art. 12 reporting and from the Birds in Europe 3 process add up to 266,952-328,115 breeding pairs in Europe including 10% of the estimate for European Russia. This is roughly equivalent to 801-984 thousand individuals. The sum of national totals of wintering birds in the European countries is 846-902 thousands of individuals for the period of 2008-2012 (European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity, in prep., BirdLife International et al., in prep.). Van Roomen et al. (2014) has accounted for 27,000 individuals wintering in West Africa and up to 5,000 are reported from Tunisia and Libyia (Wetlands International, 2014).
  • T6358 - The large decline detected by the IWC data (Nagy et al. 2014, van Roomen et al. in prep) is consistent with the overall large decline based on the national trend data for wintering birds submitted to the EU Birds Directive Art. 12 reporting and European Red List of Birds processes from BE, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GR, IE, IS, IT, LT, LV, NL, NO, PL, PT, RU, SE, SJ and UK (2000-20012: 2.09-3.46% p.a. decline, 1980-2012: 0.88-1.15% decline) and similar decline detected in breeding numbers in the same process (2000-2012: 0.98-2.16% p.a. decline, 1980-2012: 0.52-1.15 decline). The population qualifies for significant long-term decline.
  • S8955 - Updated figures for the European breeding population are 276,969-338,080 pairs. Otherwise, see CSR6.
  • T7028 - Data based on IWC indicates a stable short-term trend. This followed a subtantial decline from 1990s to the mid-2000s. However, this decline was preceeded by a substantial population increase from the 1970s to 1990 (Wetlands International 2017). However, BirdLife Interntional (2015) reports a declining breeding population both in the short- and the long-term. The recent rate of decline is equivalent to 40% over three generations (BirdLife International 2017)

Copyright Wetlands International 2012

Citation: Wetlands International (). "Waterbird Population Estimates" . Retrieved from wpe.wetlands.org on