Belongs to: passage waders

Compare with: curlew

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Birds of Conservation Concern Red List


Best time to see: mid Apr to mid May

Key facts

Smaller version of curlew with small bill and striped face pattern

Habitat: estuaries, moors, freshwater marshes and fields

Passage migrant in spring and autumn to most of Britain; breeds Scotland, Ireland and Scandinavia

Recognition

Small brown wader with short decurved bill, striped crown and grey legs; 40 cm

Normally seen in fields near to freshwater, where distinctive seven-whistle call often reveals presence

Eats crabs and molluscs; in flight white 'V' extends up back

  • Main photo

Photo © Robin Chittenden