Numenius arquata

What do they look like?

Curlews are a large wading bird with greyish brown and white mottled feathers, a long, thin, downward curving bill and long legs. Its bill is dark with a pink blush underneath, and its legs are a grey blue colour. In flight, you can spot a white section on the rump. The curlew has a distinctive call which sounds like its name, and this can be heard from February to July around its breeding grounds. They can be seen probing the ground for their prey, which most commonly consists of invertebrates.

When can I see them in Scotland?

All year.

Where can I see them in Scotland?

Curlews can be seen all around the coast of Scotland but have a large concentration in the Solway Firth. In summer months they also breed inland in grasslands, moorlands and marshes.

Conservation Status:

In the UK, bird species with breeding, passage or wintering populations are assessed by experts and assigned to the Red, Amber or Green lists of conservation concern. Curlews are currently a ‘Red’ listed species.

90 cm
27-29 days
32-38 days
5 years
Average lifespan

Curlew standing on grass
©Michal Wolowik