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Slender-billed Curlew - BirdForum Opus

Mating pair
Artwork by Szabi
Numenius tenuirostris


36–41 cm (14¼-16¼ in)

  • Greyish-brown upperparts
  • White rump and lower back
  • White underparts, heavily streaked with dark brown and rounded flank spots

Non-breeding fewer flank spots

Sexes are similar, but females are longer-billed than males.
Juvenile plumage is similar, but the rounded flank spots only appear at the end of their first winter.


They breed in south-western Siberia and northern Kazakhstan; winters north-western Africa.

There is only one described nest from 1924 in the Siberian Omsk Oblast. The wintering grounds were in the Mediterranean and until some years ago the species was regularly recorded in Morocco in winter. They have also occurred as vagrants in western Europe, the Canary Islands, the Azores, Oman, Canada and Japan.

This species is critically endangered and there are only very few records (last confirmed sighting in 2001) and some unconfirmed sightings in the last years. This sightings are from Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Albania. It's very likely that there are under 50 birds left and that the Slender-billed Curlew will become extinct soon.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Recently some authors suggest that this species is a subspecies of Whimbrel. However, this view is highly controversial.


The breed in large peat bogs with scattered birch trees, in taiga and shallow freshwater habitats. However the exact breeding location is unknown. Some authorities think that this species breeds further south in semi-steppes of Central Asia. But searches failed to locate any birds.



Their winter diet consists of a variety of invertebrates, molluscs snails and small insects.


Very little information available. They arrive on their breeding grounds about the 10 May. A nest found in Siberia in 1924 had 4 eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved March 2017)
  3. Wikipedia

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