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Overview

Comprehensive Description

The Little Curlew is the smallest curlew and has a long thin neck. The small head has a short, slender bill, downcurved at the tip and pink on the underside.There is a dark crown, with a pale buff brow line over large eyes. The body is mainly warm brown, heavily marked, with a streaked buff breast and light underbody. The legs are medium length. When alarmed, they either stand tall and erect or crouch in the grass. The female is slightly larger than the male. It is also called Little Whimbrel and Pygmy or Baby Curlew.

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© New Guinea Birds

Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Distribution

Range

Siberia; winters to Philippines, Indonesia and n Australia.

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Distribution:


    N & C Yakutia, from S slopes of Putorana Mts E to R Anabar, and Verkhoyansk and Cherski Mts on upper R Yana and R Indigirka as far E as R Anyuy, along Siberian coast. Winters in New Guinea and Australia.


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© New Guinea Birds

Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Physical Description

Size

28-31 cm, 175 g

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© New Guinea Birds

Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Diagnostic Description

The Little Curlew is the smallest curlew and has a long thin neck. The small head has a short, slender bill, downcurved at the tip and pink on the underside.There is a dark crown, with a pale buff brow line over large eyes. The body is mainly warm brown, heavily marked, with a streaked buff breast and light underbody. The legs are medium length. When alarmed, they either stand tall and erect or crouch in the grass. The female is slightly larger than the male. It is also called Little Whimbrel and Pygmy or Baby Curlew.

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© New Guinea Birds

Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour This species is strongly migratory, travelling from mid-August to October along the coast of eastern Asia on a narrow front with few stop-overs (del Hoyo et al. 1996). On its wintering grounds in Australia the species also makes erratic movements in relation to ranifall (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds from late-May to early-August in loose colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1996) of 3-30 pairs (Labutin et al. 1982) and migrates in flocks of up to 1,000 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1996). During the non-breeding season it occurs in dense flocks of several hundreds or thousands of individuals and gathers in large flocks to roost during the warmest part of the day and at night (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding The species breeds in secondary vegetation growth in open burnt areas or in grassy clearings in northern montane larch Larix spp. or dwarf birch woodland, chiefly along river valleys (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) or on well-drained (Labutin et al. 1982) southward-facing mountain slopes (Flint et al. 1984). Non-breeding On passage the species shows a preference for foraging and resting in swampy meadows near lakes and along river valleys (Flint et al. 1984). It overwinters on dry inland grassland, bare cultivation (del Hoyo et al. 1996), dry mudflats and coastal plains of black soil (Johnsgard 1981) with scattered shallow pools of freshwater (Higgins and Davies 1996), swamps, lakes or flooded ground (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It shows a preference for short grass swards of less than 20 cm tall, and occasionally occurs in dry saltmarshes, coastal swamps, mudflats or sandflats in estuaries, or on the beaches of sheltered coasts (Higgins and Davies 1996). Diet Its diet consists predominantly of adult and larval insects (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. grasshoppers, crickets, weevils, beetles, caterpillars, ants (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and termites (Bellio et al. 2006)) and spiders as well as vegetable matter including seeds, rice husks and berries (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow depression located on open ground (del Hoyo et al. 1996) in open burnt areas or grassy clearings in larch Larix spp. or dwarf birch woodland, chiefly along river valleys (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species nests in loose colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1996) with neighbouring nests spaced between 200 and 300 m apart within a radius of 1 km (Labutin et al. 1982).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Source: IUCN

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May gather in large flocks on coastal and inland grasslands and black soil plains in northern Australia, near swamps and flooded areas. They also feed on playing fields, paddocks and urban lawns.

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© New Guinea Birds

Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Trophic Strategy

eats mainly insects, as well as seeds and berries, walking along slowly, picking and probing at the ground.

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Reproduction

breed in Siberia, in open areas in birch woodlands, along valleys of small rivers. They nest in colonies, often near the nest of Golden Eagles. Males have display flights like other curlews, giving their distinctive calls. Both parents share incubation, in a nest in a shallow depression in the open, lined with grass. Breeding season: May to August Clutch size: Four. Incubation: 23 days

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Numenius minutus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Numenius minutus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Not Threatened.

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Population

Population
The global population is estimated to number > c.180,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while the population in Russia has been estimated at c.100-100,000 breeding pairs and c.50-10,000 individuals on migration (Brazil 2009).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
Important migratory stop-over sites for this species in northern Australia are being degraded through colonisation by invasive plants (e.g. Mimosa pigra, Hymenachne amplexicaulis and para grass Brachiaria mutica), saltwater intrusion as a result of rising sea-levels, and damage from feral pigs and buffalo (Bellio et al. 2006). The habitats of this species are also potentially threatened by agricultural intensification and pesticide contamination (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
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Wikipedia

Little Curlew

The little curlew (Numenius minutus) is a wader in the large bird family Scolopacidae. It is a very small curlew, which breeds in the far north of Siberia. It is closely related to the North American Eskimo Curlew.

This is a strongly migratory species, wintering in Australasia. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe (including once in Blankenberge, Belgium, in September 2010[2]).

This bird breeds in loose colonies in forest clearings in river valleys. The nest is a ground scrape. It winters inland on grassland, cultivation or near fresh water, mainly in northern Australia but also as far south as St Kilda, South Australia. It is gregarious, forming sizeable flocks. This species feeds by probing soft mud for small invertebrates.

It is mainly greyish brown, including the underwings, with a white belly, and a short, for a curlew, curved bill. It has a head pattern like a Whimbrel, with crown and superciliary stripes. The call is a repetitive whistle.

SE Queensland, Australia

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Numenius minutus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ http://ecolonews.blog.fr/2010/09/18/primeur-au-benelux-un-courlis-nain-a-blankenberge-9416094/
  • Bonnin, Mark (1971). "The little whimbel (numenius minutus) at St Kilda". S.A. Ornithologist 25 (8): 233. 
  • Shorebirds by Hayman, Marchant and Prater ISBN 0-7099-2034-2
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