Comparison between Eurasian (1 left) and Far Eastern Curlews (2 right)


Eurasian CurlewCurlew is the common name for the bird genus Numenius, a group of eight wader species, characterised by a long slender downcurved bill and mainly brown plumage with little seasonal change.

In Europe, “Curlew” usually refers to one species, the Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata.

The stone-curlews are not true curlews (family Scolopacidae) but members of the family Burhinidae, which is in the same order Charadriiformes, but only distantly related within that.


Diet / Feeding

Curlews feed on mud or very soft ground, searching for worms and other invertebrates with their long bills. They will also take crabs and similar items.

Long-billed Curlew, Numenius americanus feeding


Little Curlew, Numenius minutusRecognized Species

The Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) is an odd bird which is the closest relative of the curlews (Thomas, 2004). It is distinguished from them by its yellow legs, long tail, and shorter, less curved bill.

Little Curlew, Numenius minutus

Bristle-thighed CurlewEurasian Curlews foraging for food

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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