Long-billed Curlew

Numenius americanus

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4

LBCU

Code 6

NUMAME

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Long-billed Curlew has a small range, confined to a handful of states in the US and two regions in southern Canada. Native to a majority of these two nations and migrating to Mexico and Central America in the winter, the population of this bird is estimated at 40,000. Once considered Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, the population decline has steadied, thus reducing the immediate threat to the bird. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Long-billed Curlew is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Long-billed Curlew: Very large sandpiper with brown mottled upperparts, buff-brown underparts with dark streaks and spots. Bill is very long, decurved. Cinnamon-brown underwings visible in flight. Feeds by probing mud with bill or dunking head under water. Direct flight, steady, strong wing beats.

 

Range and Habitat

Long-billed Curlew: Breeds from southern Canada to northern California, Utah, northern New Mexico, and Texas. Spends winters from California, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida southward. Breeding habitat includes plains and prairies. During migration, frequents lake and river shores, mudflats, salt marshes, and sandy beaches.

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Long-billed Curlew SONGS AND CALLS

Long-billed Curlew A1

Whistled "curl-e-e-u-u" song during a flight dispay.

Long-billed Curlew A2

Whistled calls.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"whit-whit, whit, whit, whit, whit"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The long-billed curlew is the largest shorebird in North America.
  • It has been known as "sicklebird" and "candlestick bird." Candlestick Point in San Francisco was named after this indigenous bird.
  • Adults actively defend their eggs and young by pretending to be injured and leading the predator away. They will also use vocalization to drive away a predator and will sometimes dive at predators.
  • A group of curlews has many collective nouns, including a "curfew", "game", "head", "salon", and "skein" of curlews.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Imran Kahn

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X