Numenius arquata (Eurasian curlew, Curlew) 

Grootwulp [Afrikaans]; Keooe [South Sotho]; Wulp [Dutch]; Courlis cendré [French]; Großer brachvogel [German]; Maçarico-real [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Charadriiformes > Family: Scolopacidae

Numenius arquata (Eurasian curlew, Curlew) 

Eurasian curlew, West Coast National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Numenius arquata (Eurasian curlew, Curlew)  Numenius arquata (Eurasian curlew, Curlew) 
Eurasian curlew, West Coast National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©] Eurasian curlew, West Coast National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Breeds from western Europe to north-west China between 45-70° North, dispersing in the non-breeding season to the coasts and shores of lakes in southern and western Europe, southern and South-East Asia, Madagascar and  the coast of Africa down to southern Africa. Here it is generally uncommon along the coastline of the region, as well as further inland in north-central Namibia and Botswana. It generally prefers coastal wetlands, feeding on mud and sandflats then moving to roost at adjacent salt marshes, sand dunes, mangroves and rocks.

Distribution of Eurasian curlew in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Movements and migrations

Departs its breeding grounds in June and July, heading south and eventually arriving in southern Africa in August, staying until about March and early April.

Food 

It mainly eats aquatic invertebrates, such as shellfish, mudprawns (such as Estuarine mudprawns Upogebia africana), small crabs, shrimps and polychaete worms, occasionally supplemented with insects, small vertebrates and plant matter. It does most of its foraging by using its long bill to probe and peck soft mud, soil and grass tussocks in search of food.

Threats

Not threatened, although its numbers in southern Africa have decreased since 1900.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

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