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Spoon-billed Sandpiper by Pongpol Adireksarn

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Spoon-billed Sandpiper by Pongpol Adireksarn

Spoon-billed Sandpiper by Pongpol Adireksarn                

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper, affectionately known as 'Spoonie,' holds the rank of the second most sought-after bird in Thailand, following only Gurney's Pitta. This small wader boasts a body length ranging from 14 to 16 cm. Its breeding grounds are situated in the northeastern part of Russia, primarily in the tundra of Chukotka.

As the month of October approaches and winter looms, Spoonies embark on their migration journey southward to South and Southeast Asia, which includes Thailand. Two specific salt-pan areas, Baan Khok Kham in Samut Sakhon and Bann Pak Thale in Petchaburi, become their temporary homes as they arrive in November. In these locales, they feed on minuscule aquatic insect larvae that are nearly imperceptible to the human eye, found in the shallow waters of the salt pans. The Spoon-billed Sandpipers subsequently return to their breeding sites in Russia starting in March.

Unfortunately, the population of Spoonies has witnessed a dramatic decline over the past decade, resulting in an estimated total of fewer than 400 birds. This alarming decline in numbers has led the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to categorize the Spoon-billed Sandpiper as a critically endangered species. Regrettably, there is a somber anticipation that if conservation efforts are not intensified, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper may face extinction within the next 10 to 20 years.

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