Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide

The Curlew is a large bird with long curved bill, brown mottled body and a white underside. It's head and breast is a plain streaky brown.


Numenius arquata
Waders Menu
Present on open moorland during the breeding season and migrating to the coast line in the winter. The haunting call of the bird is an iconic sound on winter estuaries and nesting grounds. Breeding birds have become increasingly rare due to increased public access in upland areas.
Order: Charadriiformes

Family: Scolopacidae

Genus:  Numenius

Species: N. arquata
Curlew feeding on shoreline.
Being Europe's largest wader the Curlew can often  be identified by this alone.
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Note the overall plain speckled appearance of this Curlew, lack of dark bands on the birds head indicate that it is a Curlew and not a Whimbrel which is also smaller.
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Adult Male and Female
Adult Curlew
Adult Curlew flying
Curlew calling in flight and with young in grassland.
Breeding distribution
Probably breeding
Probably breeding
Confirmed to be breeding in this area
Confirmed breeding sites
Breeding distribution of Curlew
General distribution:
Widespread breeding bird in N and W Europe. Breeds locally throughout the UK but breeding birds have reduced considerably in recent years. Large numbers of winter migrants visit the UK.
Breeds on moorland and tundra, in winter is usually found around the coastline near estuaries, marshes and flooded pasture.
Curlew identification
White underside
*Large heavy bird, Europe's largest wader
Brown streaked body
*Long curved bill
*Key ID points
Curlew flying
*Short white 'V' on back in flight
*Uniform head colouring
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