Scientific papers on curlews and whimbrels

This page aims to draw together the variety of scientific papers and reports that have been published about the nine curlew species. In some cases, the papers and reports are on waders/shorebirds in general, and mention curlews as part of the study. Papers have been arranged by species, and then by year. Please note that this page is a work in progress.

Where relevant, we have provided links to where the paper has been covered elsewhere, such as on the Curlew Action blog, or as a press release.

We have also marked which papers are available to read in full online for free. If you wish to read a paper that is not Open Access and do not have access to the journal, we recommend getting in touch with the corresponding author to request a copy.

Multiple curlew species (Numenius spp.)

Tan et al (2023): Megafaunal extinctions, not climate change, may explain Holocene genetic diversity declines in Numenius shorebirds. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.85422

Koo Lee et al (2017): Effects of the Saemangeum Reclamation Project on migratory shorebird staging in the Saemangeum and Geum Estuaries, South Korea. Bird Conservation International, Volume 28, Issue 2, pages 238 - 250. DOI: 10.1017/S0959270916000605 [Open Access]

Pearce-Higgins (2017): A global threats overview for Numeniini populations: synthesising expert knowledge for a group of declining migratory birds. Bird Conservation International, Volume 27, Issue 1, pages 6–34. DOI: 10.1017/S0959270916000678 [Open Access]

Hua et al (2015): Key research issues concerning the conservation of migratory shorebirds in the Yellow Sea region. Bird Conservation International, Volume 25, Issue 1, pages 38 - 52. DOI: 10.1017/S0959270914000380 [Open Access]

Yang et al (2011): Impacts of tidal land reclamation in Bohai Bay, China: ongoing losses of critical Yellow Sea waterbird staging and wintering sites. Bird Conservation International, Volume 21, Issue 3, pages 241-259. DOI: 10.1017/S0959270911000086 [Open Access]

Eurasian Curlew (N. arquata)

Summers et al (2023): Migrations, Destinations and Breeding of Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata arquata that Spend the Non-Breeding Season in Northern Scotland. Ardea, Volume 111, No. 2, October 2023, pages 533-542. DOI: 10.5253/ardea.2023.a8 [Open Access]

Pakanen and Kylmänen (2023): High adult survival in a northern Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) population. Ornis Fennica, 00-00. DOI: 10.51812/of.126810 [Open Access]

Kenobi et al (2023): Lasso penalisation identifies consistent trends over time in landscape and climate factors influencing the wintering distribution of the Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata). Ecological Informatics, Volume 77, November 2023. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoinf.2023.102244 [Open Access]

Donnez et al (2023): Small Space but High Diversity: Spatial and Temporal Habitat Use by Endangered Eurasian Curlew at Wintering Sites Throughout Europe. Wetlands, Volume 43, Article number: 80. DOI: 10.1007/s13157-023-01728-w

Summers et al (2023): Long-term patterns in the proportion of first-year waders during the non-breeding season in Scotland. Wader Study, Volume 130, Issue 2, pages 145-153. DOI: 10.18194/ws.00313

Ewing et al (2023): Nest survival of threatened Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) breeding at low densities across a human-modified landscape. IBIS, Volume 165, Issue 3. DOI: 10.1111/ibi.13180 [Open Access]

Viana et al (2023): A synthesis of Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata arquata) demography and population viability to inform its management. IBIS, Volume 165, Issue 3, pages 767-780. DOI: 10.1111/ibi.13184 [Open Access]

Schwemmer et al (2023): Behavioural responses to offshore windfarms during migration of a declining shorebird species revealed via GPS-telemetry. Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 342. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.118131 [Open Access]

Bowgen et al (2022): Curves for Curlew: Identifying Curlew breeding status from GPS tracking data. Ecology and Evolution, Volume 12, Issue 12, e9509. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.9509 [Open Access]

Mander et al (2022): Individual, sexual and temporal variation in the winter home range sizes of GPS-tagged Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata. Bird Study, Volume 69, Issue 1-2, pages 39-52. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2022.2144129 [Open Access]

Joyeux et al (2022): Meadow-breeding waders in France: Population sizes, distribution and conservation challenges. Wader Study, Volume 129, Issue 3, pages 166-176. DOI: 10.18194/ws.00290

Power et al (2022): A preliminary investigation of persistent pollutants in Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata eggs in Ireland. Wader Study, Volume 129, Issue 3, pages 216-223. DOI: 10.18194/ws.00287

Woodward et al (2021): Assessing drivers of winter abundance change in Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata in England and Wales. Bird Study, Volume 68, Issue 3, pages 289-301. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2022.2049205

Douglas et al (2021): Recovering the Eurasian Curlew in the UK and Ireland: progress since 2015 and looking ahead. British Birds, Volume 114, June 2021.

Cook et al (2021): Temperature and density influence survival in a rapidly declining migratory shorebird. Biological Conservation, Volume 260, August 2021. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109198

Lislevand et al (2021): Population status, trends and conservation of meadow-breeding waders in Norway. Wader Study, Volume 128, Issue 1, pages 6-21. DOI: 10.18194/ws.00217 [Open Access]

Colwell et al (2020): Saving England’s lowland Eurasian Curlews. British Birds, Volume 113, May 2020, pages 279-292. [Open Access]

Robinson, Sanders and Rees (2020): Survival of Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata differs by season but not by breeding origin. Wader Study, Volume 127, Issue 1, pages 25-30. DOI: 10.18194/ws.00176 [Open Access]

Young et al (2020): A transdisciplinary approach to a conservation crisis: A case study of the Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata) in Ireland. Conservation Science and Practice, Volume 2, Issue 7, e206. DOI: 10.1111/csp2.206 [Open Access]

Wilson, Calladine and Wernham (2020): Audit of local studies of breeding Curlew and other waders in Britain and Ireland. BTO Research Report 727. [Open Access]

O’Donoghue, Donaghy, and Kelly (2019): National survey of breeding Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata in the Republic of Ireland, 2015–2017. Wader Study, Volume 126, Issue 1, pages 43 – 48. DOI: 10.18194/ws.00130 [Open Access]

Potts et al (2019): Movements of GPS-tracked Curlews within the New Forest and The Solent. Hampshire Bird Report 2018, pages 200-227.

Franks et al (2018): Evaluating the effectiveness of conservation measures for European grassland-breeding waders. Ecology and Evolution, Volume 8, Issue 21, pages 10555-10568. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4532 [Open Access]

Żmihorski et al (2018): Habitat characteristics associated with occupancy of declining waders in Polish wet grasslands. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, Volume 251, pages 236-243. DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2017.09.033 [Open Access]

Franks et al (2017): Environmental correlates of breeding abundance and population change of Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata in Britain. Bird Study, Volume 64, Issue 3, pages 393-409. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2017.1359233 [Open Access]

Brochet et al (2016): Preliminary assessment of the scope and scale of illegal killing and taking of birds in the Mediterranean. Bird Conservation International, Volume 26, Issue 1, pages 1-28. DOI: 10.1017/S0959270915000416 [Open Access]

Brown et al (2015): The Eurasian Curlew – the most pressing bird conservation priority in the UK? British Birds, Volume 108, November 2015, pages 660-668. [Open Access]

Colhoun, Mawhinney and Peach (2015): Population estimates and changes in abundance of breeding waders in Northern Ireland up to 2013. Bird Study, Volume 62, Issue 3, pages 394-403. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2015.1058746 [Open Access]

Brown (2015): International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Eurasian Curlew Numenius a. arquata, N. a. orientalis and N. a. suschkini. AEWA Technical Series No. 58. Bonn, Germany. [Open Access]

Douglas et al (2013): Upland land use predicts population decline in a globally near-threatened wader. Journal of Applied Ecology, Volume 51, Issue 1, pages 194-203. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12167 [Open Access]

Taylor and Dodd (2013): Negative impacts of hunting and suction-dredging on otherwise high and stable survival rates in Curlews Numenius arquata. Bird Study, Volume 60, Issue 2, pages 221-228. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2013.775215 [Open Access]

Renwick et al (2012): Modelling changes in species' abundance in response to projected climate change. Diversity and Distributions, Volume 18, Issue 2, pages 121-132. DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00827.x [Open Access]

Amar et al (2011): Exploring the relationships between wader declines and current land-use in the British uplands. Bird Study, Volume 58, Issue 1, pages 13-26. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2010.513412 [Open Access]

Amar et al (2010): Spatial and temporal associations between recovering populations of common raven Corvus corax and British upland wader populations. Journal of Applied Ecology, Volume 47, Issue 2, pages 253–262. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01772.x [Open Access]

Fletcher et al (2010): Changes in breeding success and abundance of ground-nesting moorland birds in relation to the experimental deployment of legal predator control. Journal of Applied Ecology, Volume 47, Issue 2, pages 263-272. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01793.x [Open Access]

Bracken, McMahon and Whelan (2008): Breeding bird populations of Irish peatlands. Bird Study, Volume 55, Issue 2, pages 169-178. DOI: 10.1080/00063650809461519 [Open Access]

Henderson et al (2002): Population estimates, trends and habitat associations of breeding Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, Curlew Numenius arquata and Snipe Gallinago gallinago in Northern Ireland in 1999. Bird Study, Volume 49, Issue 1, pages 17-25. DOI: 10.1080/00063650209461240 [Open Access]

Currie et al (2001): Sex roles, parental effort and offspring desertion in the monogamous Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata. IBIS, Volume 143, Issue 3, pages 642-650. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2001.tb04892.x

Tharme et al (2001): The effect of management for red grouse shooting on the population denstiy of breeding birds on heather-dominated moorland. Journal of Applied Ecology, Volume 38, Issue 2, pages 439-457. DOI: j.1365-2664.2001.00597.x [Open Access]

Grant et al (2000): Estimating the abundance and hatching success of breeding Curlew Numenius arquata using survey data. Bird Study. Volume 47, pages 41-51. DOI: 10.1080/00063650009461159 [Open Access]

Grant et al (1999): Breeding success and causes of breeding failure of curlew Numenius arquata in Northern Ireland. Journal of Applied Ecology. Volume 36, Issue 1, pages 59-74. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2664.1999.00379.x [Open Access]

Wilson and Brown (1999): Breeding population estimates for Lapwing, Oystercatcher and Curlew in Scotland: results of the 1998 BTO Lapwing Survey. Scottish Birds, Volume 20.

Fuller (1995): Changes in breeding populations of Curlews and Lapwings in central Buckinghamshire, 1981-1990. Buckinghamshire Bird Report 1994.

Austin and Crick (1994): Breeding phenology of Curlew. Analysis of Nest Record cards from the British Trust for Ornithology Nest Record Scheme. BTO Research Report 134.

Berg (1992): Habitat selection by breeding Curlews Numenius arquata on mosaic farmland. IBIS, Volume 134, Issue 4, pages 355-360. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.1992.tb08015.x

Berg (1992): Factors affecting nest-site choice and reproductive success of Curlews Numenius arquata on farmland. IBIS, Volume 134, Issue 1. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.1992.tb07228.x

Fuller (1981): Aspects of counting Lapwings and Curlews breeding on lowland grasslands. Wader Study Group Bulletin, Volume 33.

Eurasian Whimbrel (N. phaeopus)

Carneiro et al (2023): Icelandic Whimbrel first migration: Non-stop until West Africa, yet later departure and slower travel than adults. IBIS, Early View. DOI: 10.1111/ibi.13282 [Open Access]

Kruckenberg et al (2023): Numbers, distribution and habitat choice of Whimbrels Numenius phaeopus on spring migration in the Ems-Dollard region, northwest Germany. Wader Study, Volume 130, Issue 2, pages 111-121. DOI: 10.18194/ws.00310

Carneiro, Gunnarsson and Alves (2023): Annual Schedule Adjustment by a Long-Distance Migratory Bird. The American Naturalist, Volume 201, Number 3, March 2023. DOI: 10.1086/722566

Carneiro (2023): Whimbrel hatched from the pointed end of the egg. Wader Study, Volume 130, Issue 1, pages 85-87. DOI: 10.18194/ws.00296

Pálsdóttir et al (2022): Effects of overhead power-lines on the density of ground-nesting birds in open sub-arctic habitats. IBIS, Volume 164, Issue 4, pages 1257-1264, October 2022. DOI: 10.1111/ibi13089 [Open Access]

Massey et al (2016): Habitat characteristics of breeding Eurasian Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus on Mainland Shetland, Scotland, UK. Bird Study, Volume 63, Issue 4, pages 500-508. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2016.1237470 [Open Access]

Jóhannesdóttir et al (2014): Identifying important bird habitats in a sub-arctic area undergoing rapid land-use change. Bird Study, Volume 61, Issue 4, pages 544-552. DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2014.962481 [Open Access]

Gunnarsson (2006): Large-scale habitat associations of birds in lowland Iceland: Implications for conservation. Biological Conservation, Volume 128, Issue 2, March 2006, pages 265-275. DOI: 10.1016/2005.09.034

Turpie and Hockey (1993): Comparative diurnal and nocturnal foraging behaviour and energy intake of premigratory Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola and Whimbrels Numenius phaeopus in South Africa. IBIS, Volume 135, Issue 2, pages 156-165. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.1993.tb02827.x

Grant (1991): Nesting densities, productivity and surviving of breeding Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus in Shetland. Bird Study, Volume 38, Issue 3. DOI: 10.1080/00063659109477085 [Open Access]

Long-billed Curlew (N. americanus)

Varela et al (2020): Morphological and molecular data on a new species of Plagiorhynchus Lühe, 1911 (Acanthocephala: Plagiorhynchidae) from the long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus) from northern Mexico. Journal of Helminthology, Volume 94, e61. DOI: 10.1017/S0022149X19000543

Coates, Wright, and Carlisle (2019): Long-billed curlew nest site selection and success in the Intermountain West. The Journal of Wildlife Management, Volume 83, Issue 5, pages 1197-1213. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21661

Connolly and Colwell (2005): Comparative use of longline oysterbeds and adjacent tidal flats by waterbirds. Bird Conservation International, Volume 15, Issue 3, pages 237-255. DOI: 10.1017/S0959270905000420 [Open Access]

Little Curlew (N. minutus)

Altmann (2006): Discovery of two new breeding grounds of Little Curlew (Numenius minutus) outside the known breeding range in Siberia. Journal of Ornithology, Volume 147, DOI: 10.1007/s10336-006-0073-5

Collins and Jessop (2001): Arrival and departure dates and habitat of Little Curlew Numenius minutus at Broome, North-western Australia. The Stilt, Volume 39, July 2001, pages 10-12. [Open Access]

Garnett and Minton (1985): Notes on the movements and distribution of little curlew 'Numenius minutus' in Northern Australia. Australian Bird Watcher, Volume 11, Issue 3, pages 69-73.

Labutin, Leonovitch and Veprintsev (1982): The Little Curlew Numenius minutus in Siberia. IBIS, Volume 124, Issue 3, pages 302-319. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.1982.tb03775.x

Far Eastern Curlew (N. madagascariensis)

Little et al (2023): Site fidelity of Far Eastern Curlew in Port Stephens estuary. The Whistler, Volume 17, pages 84-87. [Open Access]

Morrick et al (2022): Differential population trends align with migratory connectivity in an endangered shorebird. Conservation Science and Practice, Volume 4, Issue 1, e594. DOI: 10.1111/csp2.594 [Open Access]

Teepol et al (2021): Long-term count data demonstrate the regional significance of Bako-Buntal Bay, Malaysian Borneo, for wintering shorebird conservation. Wader Study, Volume 128, Issue 2, pages 174-182. DOI: 10.18194/ws.00239 [Open Access]

Zharikov and Skilleter (2004): Why do eastern curlews (Numenius madagascariensis) feed on prey that lowers intake rate before migration? Journal of Avian Biology, Volume 35, Issue 6, pages 465-558. DOI: 10.1111/csp2.594 [Open Access]

Driscoll and Ueta (2002): The migration route and behaviour of Eastern Curlews Numenius madagascariensis. IBIS, Volume 144, Issue 3, pages E119-E130. DOI: 10.1046/j.1474-919X.2002.00081.x

Bristle-thighed Curlew (N. tahitiensis)

Jiguet (2023): Population trends, size, and potential threats to Bristle-thighed Curlew Numenius tahitiensis: new data from French Polynesia. Bird Conservation International, Volume 33, e62. DOI: 10.1017/S0959270923000151 [Open Access]

Marks and Redmond (1996): Demography of Bristle-thighed Curlews Numenius tahitiensis wintering on Laysan Island. IBIS, Volume 138, Issue 3, pages 438-447. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.1996.tb08062.x

Lanctot et al (1995): Brood amalgation in the Bristle-thighed Curlew Numenius tahitiensis: process and function. IBIS, Volume 137, Issue 4, pages 559-569. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.1995.tb03267.x

Marks and Redmond (1994): Conservation problems and research needs for Bristle-thighed Curlews Numenius tahitiensis on their wintering grounds. Bird Conservation International, Volume 4, Issue 4, pages 329-341. DOI: 10.1017/S0959270900002872

Hudsonian Whimbrel (N. hudsonicus)

Some of the papers here refer to the Eurasian Whimbrel (N. phaeopus). Until recently, the Hudsonian Whimbrel was considered a subspecies of the Eurasian Whimbrel but it was elevated to species level in 2020. This taxonomic split has been accepted by some, but not all, taxonomic authorities. Where the papers refer to Whimbrels in North America, we have placed them here.

Ausems et al (2023): Sex differentiation in Whimbrels from Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Wader Study, Volume 130, Issue 2, pages 161-167. DOI: 10.18194/ws.00308

Ausems et al (2023): Consistent apparent adult survival and nest‐site fidelity of whimbrel Numenius phaeopus near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada over a 40 year period. Journal of Avian Biology, Volume 2023, Issue 5-6. DOI: 10.1111/jav.03077 [Open Access]

Sanders et al (2021): Nocturnal roost on South Carolina coast supports nearly half of Atlantic coast population of Hudsonian Whimbrel Numenius hudsonicus during northward migration. Wader Study, Volume 128, Issue 2, pages 117-124. DOI: 10.18194/ws.00228

Watts et al (2021): The annual cycle for whimbrel populations using the Western Atlantic Flyway. PLoS ONE 16(12): e0260339. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0260339 [Open Access]

Johnston-González and Abril (2018): Predation risk and resource availability explain roost locations of Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus in a tropical mangrove delta. IBIS, Volume 161, Issue 4, pages 839-853. DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12678 [Open Access]

Watts et al (2008): Whimbrel tracked with satellite transmitter on migratory flight across North America. Wader Study Group Bulletin, Volume 115, Issue 2, pages 119-121. [Open Access]

Slender-billed Curlew (N. tenuirostris)

Gretton, Yurlov, and Boere(2002): Where does the Slender-billed Curlew nest and what future does it have? British Birds, Volume 95, pages 334-344. [Open Access]

Sharko et al (2019): Phylogenetic position of the presumably extinct slender-billed curlew, Numenius tenuirostris. Mitochondrial DNA Part A, Volume 30, Issue 4, pages 626-631. DOI: 10.1080/24701394.2019.1597862

Buchanan et al (2018): The potential breeding range of Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris identified from stable-isotope analysis. Bird Conservation International, Volume 28, Issue 2, pages 228-237. DOI: 10.1017/S0959270916000551

Buchanan, Crockford, and Gretton (2010): The Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris in AfricaBulletin of the African Bird Club, Volume 17, Issue 2, pages 202-206. [Open Access]

Zenatello and Serra (2002): Ageing Slender-billed Curlews Numenius tenuirostris: a useful tip. Wader Study Group Bulletin, Volume 97, pages 49–50. [Open Access]

Boere and Yurlov (1998): In search of the Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris). Preliminary results of an expedition to wetlands and waterbirds of the Baraba and Karasuk steppe in the south of West Siberia, Russian Federation, 17 May - 22 June 1997Wader Study Group Bulletin 85, pages 35–38. [Open Access]

Belik (1994): Where on earth does the Slender-billed Curlew breed? Wader Study Group Bulletin, Volume 75, pages 37-38.

Gretton (1991): The ecology and conservation of the Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris). Cambridge, UK: International Council for Bird Preservation.

Goutner and Handrinos (1990): The occurrence of slender-billed curlews Numenius tenuirostris in Greece. Biological Conservation, Volume 53, Issue 1, pages 47-60. DOI: 10.1016/0006-3207(90)90062-T

Ushakov (1912): More on the Slender-billed Curlew in Tara region. Nasha Okhota 17, pages 27–32.

Ushakov (1916): Nest and eggs of the Slender-billed Curlew. Ornitologicheskii Vestnik 7, pages 185–187.

Ushakov (1925): Colonial nesting of the Slender-billed Curlew in Tara district of Omsk province. Ural’skiy okhotnik 2, pages 32–35.

Eskimo Curlew (N. borealis)

Craig (2019): External anatomy, plumages, and historical distribution of the Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis). The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Volume 131, Issue 3, pages 543-552. DOI: 10.16767/18-144

Fannes and Senner (1991): Status and Conservation of the Eskimo Curlew. American Birds. Volume 45, No.2, pages 236-238. [Open Access]

Gollop, Barry, and Iversen (1986): Eskimo Curlew: A vanishing species? Regina, Canad: Saskatchewan Natural History Society.

Hagar and Anderson (1977): Sight Record of Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis) on West Coast of James Bay, Canada. American Birds, March 1977, pages 135-136. [Open Access]

Weston and Williams (1965): Recent records of the Eskimo Curlew. The Auk, Volume 82, No. 3, pages 493-496. DOI: 10.2307/4083125

Williams (1959): Probably Eskimo on Galveston Island, Texas. The Auk, Volume 76, No. 4, pages 539-541. DOI: 10.2307/4082333

Mackay (1892): Habits of the Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis) in New England. The Auk, Volume 9, No. 1, pages 16-21. DOI: 10.2307/4067592


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