Numenius phaeopus




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive to buff tinted with brown and lavender.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 5

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses and moss.





Whimbrel: Medium-large long legged sandpiper with brown and white mottled upperparts and buff underparts with faint streaks on sides and flanks. Crown is white striped black and neck is long and streaked. Bill is long, black and decurved. Tail and rump are brown and black barred. Sexes are similar. Female is slightly larger. No seasonal variation. Juvenile is similar to adult, but upperparts are brown with buff fringes and spots; underparts are more buff; hudsonicus is more brown above and more buff below.

Range and Habitat

Whimbrel: Breeds in much of Alaska and in arctic regions of Canada and Greenland. Migrates along the Atlantic Coast of North America. Winters in Africa, southern coast of North America from California south through Mexico, the West Indies, South America, and south Asia. Preferred habitats include tundra, marshes, prairies, shorelines, and mud flats.

Breeding and Nesting

Whimbrel: Three to five olive to buff eggs tinted with brown and lavender are laid in a shallow depression lined with soft grasses, mosses, and lichens. Both parents incubate the eggs for about 28 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Whimbrel: They have a broad diet which includes marine invertebrates such as brachyuran crabs and other crustaceans, marine worms and mollusks, and also fish. They are visual foragers. It probes deeply into the mud and moves as it feeds. They also pick up food found on the ground. They sometimes take large prey, tearing it into pieces small enough to eat.


Whimbrel: A series of 5 to 7 loud, clear, whistled notes: "pip-pip-pip-pip-pip."

Similar Species

Whimbrel: Long-billed Curlew is larger, has longer bill, and lacks head stripes. Bristle-thighed Curlew has rust-brown tail and rump.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
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