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(Numenius phaeopus)
Size: 38-43 cm; wing span 75-90 cm
Weight: 310-490 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 Whimbrel at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information


Race "variegatus"



Frontal view of a male Whimbrel (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2016]

Frontal view of several Whimbrels (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Wynnum, QLD, December 2017]

Near-lateral view of a male Whimbrel (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2016]

Lateral view of a male Whimbrel (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2016]

Lateral view of a male Whimbrel near a rockshelf, where it was seen foraging
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

Near-dorsal view of a male Whimbrel, with a Gull-billed Tern in the background (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Toorbul Wader Roost, Brisbane, QLD, August 2017]

Dorsal view of a Whimbrel
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

In this dorsal view of a male(?) Whimbrel one can clearly see the characteristic white rump; in the foreground a Great Knot in near-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[East Point, Darwin, NT, March 2013]


Frontal view of a female(?) Whimbrel (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Deception Bay, QLD, February 2018]

Lateral view of a female Whimbrel; note the long bill, which is about twice as long as the size of the head
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, February 2012]

Lateral view of a female(?) Whimbrel; depending on light conditions the apparent colour pattern of the plumage can change
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, April 2015]


Lateral view of a male Whimbrel with a particularly short and curved bill, possibly a first-year bird; in the foreground three Bar-tailed Godwits in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Wynnum Wetlands, QLD, April 2018]

Race "phaeopus"

Whimbrels, nominate race "phaeopus", were previously spotted and photographed by us in Oman.

Food, Diet

Although normally specialised on molluscs and crustaceans, Whimbrels have been seen by us to also take fruit (dates) in Oman.

Lateral view of a Whimbrel that has caught a mud crab
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, March 2015]


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.

whimbrl_20150326.mp3 (NE NSW) Contact calls © MD
whimbrl_20150326_2.m4a (NE NSW) Warning/departure © MD
whimbrl_20150327.mp3 (NE NSW) Warning/departure © MD
whimbrl_20150327_2.mp3 (NE NSW) ? © MD
whimbrl_20160920.mp3 (NE NSW) ? © MD
whimbrl_20160920_2.mp3 (NE NSW) ? © MD
whimbrl_20160921.m4a (NE NSW) Various (early morning) © 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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