Little Curlew

The Little Curlew, Numenius minutus, is a wader that is closely related to the North American Eskimo Curlew.

Little Curlew, Numenius minutus

Little Curlew, Numenius minutus

Distribution / Range

The Little Curlew is strongly migtratory, breeding in the far north of Siberia; and wintering in Australasia. Some are very rare vagrant to western Europe.

They winter inland on grassland, cultivation or near fresh water, mainly in northern Australia but also as far south as St Kilda, South Australia.

It formes sizeable flocks.


This is a tiny curlew with a mostly greyish-brown plumage, a white belly, and short curved bill. It has a head pattern like a Whimbrel, with crown and curving streaks above the eyes (known as superciliary stripe).

Little Curlew, Numenius minutus

Little Curlew, Numenius minutus

Nesting / Breeding

They breed in loose colonies in forest clearings in river valleys and their nest is a simple ground scrape.

Calls / Vocalizations

The call is described as a repetitive whistle.

Diet / Feeding

This species feeds by probing soft mud for small insects and other invertebrates.

Photo of author

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