Long-billed Curlew

Numenius americanus

Status

Special Concern

Description

Largest sandpiper in the world. Adults range from 51 to 66 cm in length (including the bill). Extremely long and slender, downcurved bill up to 21 cm long. Buff coloured underparts tinged with cinnamon or pink. Upperparts are streaked and mottled with dark brown. Long legs are a dull bluish grey.

Habitat

April to September. Nests in open native grasslands with short to mid-height grasses. Often locate nests among clumps of grass that help conceal incubating adults and nests from predators. Young leave the nest with the adults immediately after hatching. Once the eggs have hatched, curlews often move to more concealed areas with taller, denser grass, including irrigated hayfields, to forage and raise the young. BC Curlews migrate to Mexican grasslands and the US Pacific coast for the winter.

Threats

Loss of nesting habitat from agricultural and urban development
Fire suppression
Invasive plants that outcompete the native grasses
Increasing risk from predators due to habitat fragmentation
ATV use

You Can Help!

Protect native grassland nesting habitat
Control invasive plants and reduce soil disturbance to prevent invasive plants from establishing
Leave known nesting sites undisturbed
Avoid fragmenting grasslands with roads and development
Avoid ATV use in grasslands during nesting season

Resources

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