14 September 2014


Numenius phaeopus

The Whimbrel is superficially like the closely related Curlew, which  is a more familiar bird all year round in Europe. The Whimbrel is generally a northerly breeder and only migrates elsewhere during spring and autumn.

This large wader would often be overlooked were it not for its call, although in fact its compact, dark and chunky form is quite distinct from the lankier and paler Curlew.

It is rather more squat and smaller than the Straight Billed Godwits. As with most "streaky brown birds" a close view reveals an exquisite pattern of fine streaks, bars, and spots.

In Europe it is very much a ground or waterside bird but in winter in Africa it often perches up on trees. For much of the summer, Whimbrels are on dry ground but migrants may be seen wading at the edges of pools, or along the shore.

Its nest is a simple shallow scrape on the ground, 4 eggs, 1 brood - May-July.

Whimbrels will feed on insects, snails, earthworms, crabs, and marine worms.

Overall we spent couple of hours observing this bird and it was a great morning.

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