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Far Eastern Curlew - BirdForum Opus

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Photo © by HelenB
Saratoga Wetlands, NSW, Australia, October 2009

Numenius madagascariensis


  • 53-66 cm (20.8-26 ins); wingspan 97-110 cm (38-43.25 ins)
  • The female is the world’s largest wader – in body size and bill length
  • Very long down-curved bill, black with pink base
  • Upperparts – breast buff with vertical, dark streaking, paler below. Back and wings have dark feather centres, with buff notches and fringes. Underwing is heavily barred brown
  • Plain head with pale eyering.
  • Juvenile has shorter bill, finer streaking on underparts, more extensive whitish edging on upperparts in fresh plumage


Breeds northeastern Asia (Russia and north-eastern China); winters to Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.

Photo © by tcollins
Darwin, Australia, January 2008


This is a monotypic species[1].


Sheltered coasts, estuaries mudflats, exposed mud, mangrove swamps, coral flats, lotus fields, wetlands, harbours and lagoons.

Rarely inland.



Photo © by Ayuwat J
Beppu, Oita, Japan

Their diet includes crabs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2012. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2012. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. BF Member observations

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