Order: Charadriiformes

Family:  Scolopacidae

Scientific name: Numenius arquata, Linnaeus, 1758

IUCN Red list status- Near Threatened

Did you know?

  1. Eurasian Curlew is also known as Common Curlew.
  2. Eurasian Curlew female has larger bill than males.


Eurasian Curlew is 50-60 cms long and weighs 500-800 gms. The adult in breeding plumage has pale buff-brown head, neck and upper mantle. Head and neck are streaked blackish. Lower back and rump are white. The tail is barred dark brown. On the finely streaked head, we can see an indistinct white super cilium. Chin and upper throat are whitish. The long, down curved bill is dark with pinkish base of lower mandible. The eyes are dark brown. Long legs and feet are pale blue-grey to greenish-grey.Both sexes are similar in plumage, but the female is larger and has longer bill. The juvenile has more buff on breast, and flanks are less streaked. The upperparts show buff spotting and fringes.


The Eurasian Curlew feeds mainly on, arthropods, crustaceans, molluscs, Earth worms, insects, seeds and berries. Sometimes it may take also take vertebrates such as small fish, amphibians, lizards, young birds and probably eggs, and small rodents. It forages in deep or shallow water. It feeds by pecking, jabbing and deep probing in mud or damp soil. Usually males and females forage in different areas. It is done solitarily or in very small groups during day time.


Eurasian Curlew can be seen in Seashores, estuaries and tidal mudflats. They breed in open wet areas such as damp grassland and coastal marshes. In India it is seen mainly in Coastal areas of the union in winter season. At that time they are also seen in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding is season between April and July. They are generally monogamous. On Courtship, the male performs aerial displays. It glides with the wings in wide V-shape, giving quite raptor-like impression. The Eurasian Curlew nests completely in open or in grass areas which is thicker and longer than surrounding areas. The nest is a large depression on the ground lined with grass and feathers which is built by both birds. Normally 4 brownish-olive eggs with dark markings are laid. Both sexes incubate for 27-29 days. Both parents take care of young ones


Call is a shrill and wild “coor-lee” or “cur-lew

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
  • Numenius arquata arquata breeding in North, West and Central Europe
  • Numenius arquata orientalis breeding in West and Central Siberia and Northeast China.
  • Numenius arquata suschkini breeding in western Kazakhstan to south-western Siberia.

Migratory Behaviour

Migratory, Common Winter visitor