Curlews - Hebridean Birds
Western Isles Birds - Curlews. The plumage is generally buffish brown in tone with delicate and intricate markings, visible at close range, streaked underparts and a plain pale area under the tail.

The legs are very long and greenish in colour. Curlews can be seen in many places on The Western Isles.

The Curlew is the largest European Wading Bird. You can often see them here feeding on the mud and soft ground on the worms.
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Curlew -  Western Isles
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Bird Overview - Curlew
Sandpipers & Allies
Latin name
Numenius arquata


Similar Species
The curlew is the largest European wading bird and probably the best known. The curlew has a long downcurved bill - females have longer bills.

Their plumage is mostly buffy brown tone with delicate and intricate markings (when you see them at close range) brown on the upper body with streaks on the neck and underparts, grading to white below the tail.

The white rump is conspicuous in flight. The males and the female curlews and the juveniles look alike. .

53 - 58 cm / 600 - 900 g- Larger than a whimbrel and also godwits.
The curlew is found in a rage of habitats - from coastal marshes to high moorland, grasslands. The curlew Breeds on moors, boggy heaths, upland pasture. In winter, distribution is mainly coastal.

Curlews feed on mud or very soft ground, searching for worms and other invertebrates with their long bills. They will also take crabs and similar items.

They also eat insects and their larvae and in the autumn - berries. They feed when low tide shows the areas of open mud - where the curlews use their bill to probe for invertebrate prey.

The curlews call rather than its beak is actually the origin of its name - however these birds often seen in the Western Isles have a wide and varied vocal repertoire, including the haunting, bubbling call often heard when they are in flight.


The curlews breed between April and July. Incubation is 27 - 29 days and the young fledge at 5 weeks. These birds nest on the ground in low vegetation. After breeding the curlews head to the coast










Misc. Info
Curlews spend most of the winter in estuaries and mud-flats. They feed on small marine worms, shrimps and shore-crabs. In early spring the birds move inland to breed in upland blanket bogs, lowland raised bogs and rough pasture. Outside the breeding season they are frequently seen in small flocks, often in the company of other waders.
Curlew - Western Isles
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