Arctic Tern. Photo: Mark Medcalf/Shutterstock.comAn estimated 1,855 or 19% of bird species migrate between breeding and non-breeding ranges with predictable timing and destinations. The Arctic represents the starting point for many of these flyways because of its brief but intensely productive summers.

Recent reviews indicate that a number of migratory birds are at high risk and have an unfavourable conservation status. They are affected by mulitple stressors, both inside and outside the Arctic.

The Arctic is estimated to host 279 or 2% of bird species during the breeding season, including 50% of all shorebirds and 80% of all geese. 

As part of the Arctic Species Trend Index, CAFF has developed the Arctic Migratory Birds Index to provide a better understanding of the status and trends in Arctic migratory birds to better inform policy, management and scientific decisions.

Arctic Migratory Birds Index

The Arctic Migratory Birds Index describes the broad-scale trends in 129 selected migratory bird species. This examination is necessary for designing and targeting informed conservation strategies at the flyway level to address reported declines.




A team of international scientists examined abundance change in selected Arctic breeding bird species, incorporating information from both inside and outside the Arctic to capture possible influences at different points during a species’ annual cycle.

Special concern: Shorebird declines

Shorebirds are in decline overall (-10%), with negative trends in the Americas and East Asia (-10% and -70%). Populations of this group are faring better in Africa-Eurasia, where abundance is 40% higher compared to 1970.


Stressors in the Arctic

  • rapid climate change
  • fluctuating snow cover and humidity levels
  • increasing shrub cover
  • changing distribution of tundra habitat
  • predatory cycles
  • habitat loss and degradation
  • hunting pressures

Stressors outside of the Arctic

  • loss of intertidal habitat
  • agricultural intensification
  • hunting pressures
  • over-exploitation of good resources
  • pollution

Arctic States

dk   ca   fi   is   no   ru   sw   usa

Permanent Participants

aac  raipon  icc   GCI Logo Vertical RGB 121x90  aia  saami_councile