© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.


Numenius phaeopus

  • Family: Sandpipers – Scolopacidae
  • Appearance: A large member of the numerous and diverse sandpiper family, similar to the Curlew, but smaller and has a shorter beak with a downcurved shape mainly near the beak tip. Has a dark cap with a pale central stripe, and dark stripes extending from beak to eye and beyond, making a paler stripe above the eye stand out more prominently than on the Curlew.
  • Size: Length 37–45 cm, wingspan 78–88 cm, weight 305–425 g. Female larger than male.
  • Nest: In a shallow depression in the ground, lined with straw, dry leaves and moss.
  • Breeding: 4 eggs laid in May, incubated by both parents for: 21–25 days. Young able to fly within 40 days. Fledglings leave nest very soon and seek out food for themselves.
  • Distribution: Breeds on open fells in the north and in marshes in the coniferous forest zone in northern and some central regions of Finland. Finnish breeding population estimated at 30,000–50,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Migrates by day and night. Autumn migration from mid June to early September. Spring migration April– May. Winters in West Africa.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: A rapid ”kyu-yu-yu-yu-yu”.

The Whimbrel resembles the slightly larger Curlew, but can also be distinguished by its shorter beak, which is steeply downcurved only near the tip.

Whimbrels also have distinctive dark markings on their caps (absent in Curlew). Their plumage is otherwise a fairly uniform pale brown with darker speckles. Wedge-shaped whitish rump patch is prominent on birds in flight. Their legs are greenish or bluish grey. They have dark brown irises and brown beaks with dark tips and a reddish base to the lower mandible.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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