- 17.3 in
- 10.9–17.4 oz
- Hudsonian Curlew (English)
- Courlis corlieu (French)
- Zarapito trinador (Spanish)
- Some migrating Whimbrels make a nonstop flight of 4,000 km (2,500 miles) from southern Canada or New England to South America.
- Four distinct subspecies of Whimbrel are recognized: one breeds in North America, one from Iceland to northwest Siberia, one in southern Russia, and one in eastern Siberia. The American form was formerly considered a separate species, the Hudsonian Curlew. Whereas the Eurasian forms have white backs, and some white rumps, the American form has a brown rump and back.
- In many regions, the primary winter food of the Whimbrel is crab. The curve of the Whimbrel's bill nicely matches the shape of fiddler crab burrows. The bird reaches into the crab's burrow, extracts the crab, washes it if it is muddy, and sometimes breaks off the claws and legs before swallowing it. Indigestible parts are excreted in fecal pellets.
- The oldest recorded Whimbrel was at least 14 years old when it was recaptured and rereleased in Manitoba.
Breeds in various tundra habitat, from wet lowlands to dry heath. In migration, frequents various coastal and inland habitats, including fields and beaches. Winters in tidal flats and shorelines, occasionally visiting inland habitats.
Primarily marine invertebrates, especially small crabs, but also insects, berries, and even flowers during breeding season.
- Clutch Size
- 2–5 eggs
- Egg Description
- Blue-green to brownish or buff.
- Condition at Hatching
- Downy and active, may leave nest within one to two hours.
A shallow bowl on the ground, usually lined with leaves.
In intertidal habitats in winter, inserts bill to various depths to pick prey. Locates prey visually. Picks berries with tip of bill, releases and catches berry in throat.
Numbers of Whimbrel declined sharply during 19th century, because of hunting for sport and food. No definitive information is available on current population trends. The greatest current threat to the species is loss of coastal wetland habitat; environmental contamination, including cadmium wastes from mining in Chile, also poses increasing risks to the species. The North American population of Whimbrel is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action.
- Skeel, M. A., and E. P. Mallory. 1996. Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). In The Birds of North America, No. 219 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and the American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
- North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.
- USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2015. Longevity records of North American Birds.