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8

Eastern Curlew

(Numenius madagascariensis)
Alternate name(s): "Sea Curlew", "Australian Curlew", "Far Eastern Curlew"
Aboriginal name(s): "widjonong" (WA)

Size: 53-65 cm; wing span 88-105 cm
Weight: 565-1150 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Eastern Curlew at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

MALE

NON-BREEDING

Frontal view of a male Eastern Curlew
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, August 2015]

Near-lateral view of a male Eastern Curlew
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, August 2015]

Lateral view of a male Eastern Curlew
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, August 2015]

Lateral view of a male Eastern Curlew
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, August 2015]

Lateral view of a male Eastern Curlew
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, September 2016]

Lateral view of a male Eastern Curlew, here seen snoozing
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, September 2016]

Dorsal view of a male Eastern Curlew
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, August 2015]

Lateral view of a male Eastern Curlew...
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, January 2011]

... now moving at higher speed
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, January 2011]

FEMALE

BREEDING

The length of this Eastern Curlew's bill suggests that it must be a female bird; the buff to rufous tinge may indicate early breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Toorbul Wader Roost, Brisbane, QLD, August 2017]

With such an enormous bill, preening can be a bit of a problem for a female Eastern Curlew (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Toorbul Wader Roost, Brisbane, QLD, August 2017]

NON-BREEDING

With the full length of this Eastern Curlew's bill visible, it is clear that this must be a female bird
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, January 2011]

Group of Eastern Curlews walking in the surf - the birds with the longest bills are females; males have slightly shorter bills
[Lee Point beach, Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Two Eastern Curlews caught napping in the surf
[Lee Point beach, Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Now one of the two Eastern Curlews has woken up
[Lee Point beach, Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Dorsal view of Eastern Curlews in flight
[Lee Point beach, Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Behaviour

Lateral view of a male Eastern Curlew bringing its prey, a molusc, to the waterline... (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wyndham Town Jetty, Wyndham, WA, January 2016]

... to rinse it before eating (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wyndham Town Jetty, Wyndham, WA, January 2016]

Eastern Curlews can sometimes be seen in relatively big congregations (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Wyndham Town Jetty, Wyndham, WA, January 2016]

Closer look at Eastern Curlews in a big congregation (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Wyndham Town Jetty, Wyndham, WA, January 2016]

Food, Diet

Lateral view of a male Eastern Curlew digging up its prey
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, August 2015]

Lateral view of a male Eastern Curlew with its prey, which looks like a mud crab
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, August 2015]

Lateral view of a male Eastern Curlew with its prey, which looks like a mud crab
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, August 2015]

Only a minute later, the bird had caught its next victim
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, August 2015]

Within about 10 minutes, we saw it pull up a fair number of meals from the submerged mud
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, August 2015]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

eastcrl_20160920.mp3 (NE NSW) Warning calls (human) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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