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. 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 do we hope to achieve?
We need to buy some time for the spoon-billed sandpiper while the difficult problems of hunting and inter-tidal habitat loss are tackled.
The spoon-billed sandpiper project team are currently establishing a conservation breeding programme at the WWT headquarters at Slimbridge. So far we have undertaken two expeditions to Arctic Russia to collect eggs and chicks. These are now doing well in captivity, but there is still lots to do.
We need to work on key issues in the wild, mainly hunting on the wintering grounds, and problems with habitat loss on the migration route. Only once these issues have been addressed can birds be released back into the wild.
We need to buy some time for the spoon-billed sandpiper. It risks being one species that might not make it until 2020, the year targeted by governments around the world to stop the loss of wildlife.
With your help we need to raise
Why we need your help
The spoon-billed sandpiper could be extinct within 10 years if we don't do anything. With your help we can continue research and monitoring of the wild population, as well as address key problems on the wintering grounds and on migration.
3 ways to donate
You can donate by secure online form, by telephone or by post.
1. Secure online form
Donating online is easy and ensures that more of your money is used for conservation.
2. By telephone
Our Membership Services team can also take donations over the phone.
01767 693 680
9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday
3. By post
We can accept donations by cheque too. Please make cheques payable to The RSPB and send them to:
Save the spoon-billed sandpiper