[order] Charadriiformes | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Numenius arquata | [UK] Curlew | [FR] Courlis cendré | [DE] Großer Brachvogel | [ES] Zarapito Real | [IT] Chiurlo maggiore | [NL] Wulp

Wulp determination

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Large greyish brown curleo with long bill and plain head pattern. Head, neck, breast and upperparts buffy brown with dark streaking, although plumage variable. Pale underwing, white rump and lower back, belly white, flanks streaked. Female averages larger, especially with longer bill. Non-breeding adult has breast and upperparts grey brown and underparts whiter. Race orientalis usually paler, with underwing coverts and axillaries largely unmarked, lower rump may be more barred and inner wing paler, but considerable overlap.

Breeds on peat bogs, fens, upland moors, damp grassland, grassy or boggy open areas in forest, extensive farmland, swampy and dry heathland, dune valleys and coastal marshes. increasing numbers breed in meadows. In non-breeding period, chiefly on muddy coasts, bays and estuaries, also regularly on muddy shores of inland lakes and rivers. During migration, also found on wet grassland and arable fields. Males are more likely to feed in inland grassland than females.

Numenius arquata is a widespread breeder across much of northern Europe (occurring more patchily farther south), which probably holds >75% of its global breeding population. Its European breeding population is large (>220,000 pairs), but underwent a moderate decline between 1970-1990 (based mainly on wintering data). Although some smaller populations were stable or increased during 1990-2000, key populations in the United Kingdom, Finland and Russia all declined, and the species underwent a moderate decline (>10%) overall. Consequently, it is evaluated as Declining.
This large wader inhabits the temperate and boreal regions of Eurasia. European birds winter in Western Europe, the Mediterranean regions and Africa. Their total population is totalling 135000 breeding pairs, Russia not included. In many regions, especially in the south-western part of its range, this species is declining and its distribution is contracting following loss of breeding habitat

Usually diet includes annelids, molluscs, arthropods, crustaceans, berries and seeds. Occasionally vertebrates, including amphibians, lizards, young birds, small rodents and small fish. Chiefly terrestrial insects and eartworms, especially in summer. Feeds by pecking, jabbing or deep probing in mud or damp soil. Occasionally takes food from conspecifics or other wader species. Some birds territorial on wintering grounds, others feed gregariously. Long-billed females tend to forage more on intertidal flats, feeding on molluscs, crabs and polychaetes, while shorter-billed males tend to feed more on cultivated grassland.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km2. It has a large global population estimated to be 490,000-660,000 individuals1. The European population (220,000-360,000 pairs, occupying 50-74% of the global breeding range) has declined during 1990-2000 (including key populations in the United Kingdom, European Russia and Finland)2, but there is no evidence of declines in Asia, where populations appear to be stable3,4,5. The species is therefore not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Egg laying from April to May. pair bond is Monogamous. High degree of site fidelity. Nest is typically built in the open, often in grass or sedge cover. 4 eggs are laid in a single brood, incubation 28 days, by both sexes. Chick pale ochraceous buff above clouded with blackish brown, black crown and creamy buff on belly. Both parents care for young. Age of first breeding 2 years.

Mostly migratory; some birds resident in west of range. Winters in Europe, and widely on coasts (locally inland) in Africa (south to Cape Province), Madagascar, Arabia, and southern Asia. Banc d‘Arguin (Mauritania) perhaps most usual southern limit for west and central European birds. Autumn passage of west European (including Fenno-Scandian) birds begins late June: adults arrive at North Sea estuaries (Wash and Wadden Sea) and commence moult; main arrivals in July-August. Birds leave breeding grounds in Alsace (France), western Germany, and Britain by mid-July; in FSU, main departures July-August. Many birds from Fenno-Scandia, Baltic States, and adjacent parts of Russia stay on European coasts until April-May. Main arrivals in northern Russia at end of April. Many 1st-year birds remain in winter quarters.