Bristle-thighed Curlew

Numenius tahitiensis

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4

BTCU

Code 6

NUMTAH

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Vulnerable

The Bristle-thighed Curlew has a small breeding range of 45,300 square kilometers. This includes shrubby tundra in parts of western Alaska. It winters on islands in the Pacific Ocean. This species is threatened by hunting and introduced predators on its wintering grounds, and may be threatened by pollution and other factors on its breeding grounds. It has an estimated global population of ten thousand, and a conservation rating of Vulnerable.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Bristle-thighed Curlew: This large brown-streaked shorebird has a long decurved bill. The eye-line is dark, the eyebrow is white, and the rump is cinnamon-brown. The bristle-like feathers at the base of the legs are subtle. The legs and feet are blue-gray. It has a strong, swift direct flight. It feeds on crustaceans and small fish. Sexes are similar, though females are larger and longer billed.

 

Range and Habitat

Bristle-thighed Curlew: Breeds in a limited area of western Alaska, on the lower Yukon River and the central Seward Peninsula. Spends winters on a wide range of small islands in the south Pacific, including Hawaiian Islands, Mariana Islands, Micronesia, Fiji, Samoa, and French Polynesia. Preferred habitats include quiet, undisturbed beaches and coastal grassy fields and pastures.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"Pee-uu-ee"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Introduced cats and dogs prey heavily on flightless curlews, resulting in what is believed to be a population decline for these birds.
  • The Bristle-thighed Curlew is the only shorebird to have a completely flightless period during their molt. This strategy undoubtedly evolved long ago, in response to the absence of any mammalian predators on its Pacific island wintering grounds.
  • They were first described during James Cook's visits to Tahiti in the 18th century, but their summer nesting grounds weren't identified until 1948.
  • 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.

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Chris Vest

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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EyebrowX
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X