Bristle-thighed Curlew

Numenius tahitiensis




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive buff marked with brown.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses or leaves.





Bristle-thighed Curlew: Large brown-streaked shorebird with long, decurved bill. Prominent stripes on head; eye-line is dark, contrasting eyebrow is white. Cream or buff on underparts, dark brown or gray-brown mottled upperparts. Rump is cinnamon-brown. Bristle-like feathers at base of legs are inconspicuous. Sexes similar, females are slightly larger. Males' bills are more tapered and decurved than those of females. Juvenile similar to adult; upperparts have bold, large cinnamon-buff spots; breast lightly streaked buff.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Bristle-thighed Curlew: They are monogamous and return to the same breeding site every year. Four olive buff eggs marked with brown are laid in a ground depression lined with moss and leaves, usually built directly beneath dwarf willow shrubs. Both parents incubate the eggs for about 25 days. The chicks leave the nest shortly after hatching but still receive parental care.

Foraging and Feeding

Bristle-thighed Curlew: These birds eat worms, grubs, beetles, crabs, maggots and the eggs of nesting seabirds. They crack the thick shells of large seabird eggs, sometimes employing rocks as tools. While preparing for migration, they feed on berries and insects on the Yukon Delta. They drink from freshwater seeps on Laysan Island but also drink seawater at tide pools and on the shoreline.


Bristle-thighed Curlew: Call is a hurried, rather curtailed "pee-uu-ee."

Similar Species

Bristle-thighed Curlew: Whimbrel lacks cinnamon-brown patches on rump and uppertail.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
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