Long-billed Curlew

Numenius americanus
A Long-billed Curlew specimen on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

The Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) has an extremely long, down-curved bill and is the largest North American shorebird, although it is often seen far from the coast. Long-billed Curlews breed on the North American grasslands of the arid west and are seen also on coastal mudflats only in the winter and during their annual migrations. Long-billed Curlews winter mainly along the west coast of the United States and from the extreme southern United States south to southern Mexico and irregularly through northern Central America to Honduras and Costa Rica. On grasslands, they feed mainly on insects and other small animals and in coastal areas on marine invertebrates such as crabs, mollusks, and worms. The nest consists of a shallow scrape on the ground, usually sparsely lined with grass and other plants, in open prairie. Long-billed Curlews are short-distance migrants, wintering mainly in the southern United States and northern Mexico. In the mid-1800s, this species was more common and widespread, occurring as a common migrant along the Atlantic coast, but hunting caused serious declines in the late 1800s and, more recently, populations have suffered from the conversion of grasslands to agriculture. (Kaufman 1996; AOU 1998)

DC Information

Accidental visitor from the west in April, May, and September. Found along meadows and mud flats. Sexes are alike.

Specimen Information

Date: 11/11/1918
Collected By: Edward J Brown
Locality: Hyperion, Los Angeles Co, CA
Sex: Male
Catalog ID: 254998

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalization

Sound from xeno-canto. XC53852 Numenius americanus (Long-billed Curlew)