Belongs to: winter waders

Compare with: whimbrel

Curlew Numenius arquata

BoCC Red list


Best time to see: Sep to Mar

Key facts

Large brown wader with long decurved bill and familiar bubbling call

Habitat: estuaries, moors and freshwater marshes

Common winter visitor; small numbers breed on moorland of N. and W. Britain and Ireland

Recognition

Large wader with streaked brown upperparts, long decurved bill and pale legs; 55 cm

Call is a loud 'Coor-lee', and an excited bubbling call in summer

Often forms large flocks on estuaries, eating crabs, molluscs and worms; in flight white 'V' extends up rump

Lifecycle

Nest is a hollow on the ground, lined with grass or heather

One brood April–June; 4 olive eggs blotched brown

  • Main photo

Photo © Alan Williams