As its name suggests, the spoon-billed sandpiper is a remarkable species. It's a tiny wading bird - about the size of a house sparrow - with a uniquely-shaped beak. These birds are dying at a shocking rate, and extinction looks likely within the next decade if urgent action is not taken.

Recent research suggests that there are only between 100-200 breeding pairs in the world. And scientists believe that the population is plummeting by 26 per cent each year. In particular, the number of young sandpipers surviving to adulthood is extremely low.

Spoon-billed sandpipers undertake a migration of nearly 5,000 miles (8,000 km) from their Siberian breeding grounds to the coasts of south-east Asia.

It's a hazardous journey. We think there are two main reasons for the decline. One is hunting, particularly on the birds' wintering grounds in Myanmar and Bangladesh. The other is that the birds' habitat is under serious threat from the rapid coastal development taking place in that part of Asia.

We're part of a team including the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), Birds Russia, BirdLife International, British Trust for Ornithology and others, working to throw this species a lifeline.

Can you help us save the spoon-billed sandpiper?

What we'll be doing

We need to buy some time for the spoon-billed sandpiper while we tackle the difficult problems of hunting and inter-tidal habitat loss.

The spoon-billed sandpiper project team have established a conservation breeding programme at the WWT headquarters at Slimbridge. These birds are doing well in captivity, and we hope to take eggs laid in the UK back to the Russian Far East to be hatched, reared and released on their breeding grounds.

We are also directly boosting the wild population of spoon-billed sandpipers. This involves moving eggs from nests on the tundra into incubators. Once the eggs hatch, the chicks are kept in aviaries until they are able to fly before they are released back into the wild.

Our innovative work boosts the number of spoon-billed sandpiper chicks that survive. And as females can lay a replacement clutch the number of chicks produced each year can be almost 5 times higher than if we didn't help them.

Donate now

Donating online is easy and ensures that more of your money is used for conservation.

Donate now

Or you can also donate by:

Telephone: Our Membership Services team can also take donations over the phone. Call 01767 693 680, 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday

Post: We can accept donations by cheque too. Please make cheques payable to The RSPB and send them to: Save the spoon-billed sandpiper, The RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL

Our target

With your help we need to raise £60,000

Why we need your help

The spoon-billed sandpiper could be extinct within 10 years if we don't do anything. Please help fund our work to boost the wild population of spoon-billed sandpipers, as well as help us continue research and monitoring of their numbers. With the support of people like you we can save these birds from extinction.