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Eurasian Curlew - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Gallus
Kingairloch, Scottish Highlands, UK, September 2004
Numenius arquata


50-60cm (19¾-23½ in)

  • Greyish-brown overall plumage
  • White back
  • Long curved bill


A widespread and generally common bird in the Western Palearctic. Breeds in the British Isles (except east and south-east England), discontinuously from France east to Poland, throughout coastal and lowland Scandinavia, the Baltic States and across Russia between about 48 and 64 degrees N. Southern limits are the Pyrenees, Alps and the Black Sea.

Photo © by Macswede
Helensburgh, Scotland, November 2018

Resident in Ireland, parts of coastal Britain, Brittany, coastal Netherlands and south-west Sweden. Elsewhere a summer visitor, present April-August.

In winter found in southern Iceland, throughout the British Isles and much of western and southern Europe, Turkey and North Africa. Has bred in Spain and occasionally does so elsewhere out of main range including very small numbers in Italy.

Vagrant north to Jan Mayen, Bear Island and south to Canaries, Azores and Cape Verde Islands.



There are 2 subspecies1:

  • N. a. arquata :
  • N. a. orientalis:


Juvenile subspecies orientalis
Photo © by SeeToh
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore, August 2017

Breeds in wet grassland and meadows, drier parts of marshes, farmland, heaths and moorland. In winter mainly coastal, on estuaries and sandy shores, saltmarshes, on coastal grasslands and to a lesser extent, on inland wetlands.



The diet includes small invertebrates, small crabs and earthworms.


Their nest is a bare scrape. The 3-6 eggs are incubated for about a month.

They are monogamous and territorial.


Call: curloo-oo.

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  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved December 2018)

Recommended Citation

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