IUCN threat status:

Near Threatened (NT)

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The Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) is a large curlew (male around 660 g, 52 cm length; female 790 g, 55 cm length) that breeds across Eurasia from the United Kingdom to Siberia, but not all the way to the Pacific coast. The wintering range extends from Europe and Japan south throughout Africa and southern Asia. Eurasian Curlews occasionally show up on the Atlantic coast of North America in spring, fall, and winter from Newfoundland to New York, as well as in the Bahamas.

Eurasian Curlews breed on moors and marshlands in the boreal forest zone (taiga), as well as in moist meadows in steppe and pastureland. When not breeding, they are found (usually in flocks) on coastal mudflats and sometimes on muddy shores of lakes and rivers and, in migration, on wet grassland and agricultural fields.

Eurasian Curlews feed by pecking, jabbing, or deep probing with their bills in mud or damp soil. When not breeding, females, which have slightly longer bills than males, tend to forage more on intertidal flats, feeding on mollusks, crabs, and polychaete worms, whereas males tend to feed more on lumbricid earthworms on cultivated grassland.

(van Gils and Wiersma 1996 and references therein; Paulson 2005)


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