Little Curlew - Numenius minutus

Little Curlew
World Curlew Day logo, designed by Nicola Duffy

At 28 – 34 cm in length, as the name suggest, the Little Curlew is the smallest curlew species, and has the shortest bill. Its bold head stripes are similar to the whimbrel, giving rise to its alternative name of little whimbrel. This species breeds across large areas of eastern Russia in recently burnt areas or grassy woodland clearings in river valleys. Like the Far Eastern curlew, the little curlew migrates south through China to overwinter in Australia, where they form large flocks hundreds or thousands strong. Despite being shorebirds, they are mostly found inland on grassland or bare cultivated areas, where they feed mainly on insects and their larvae.

There is still much to lean about this species. A recent study using small transmitters to track the birds has shown that on their way north, they fly all the way from Australia to China non-stop. Their population trend is not known, but in the absence of evidence for decline, and with a large estimated population of more than 180,000 birds, the species is classified as ‘Least Concern’.

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