Bird of the Week, December 7, 2012
Long-billed Curlew


Long-billed Curlew by Alan Wilson


This large, long-legged shorebird is most notable for its extremely long, down-curved bill, adapted for foraging for earthworms, crabs, and other deep-burrowing prey. Although classified as shorebirds, Long-billed Curlews are more commonly found on prairie habitats.


The principal threat to this species is loss of habitat; grasslands are increasingly being taken over for agriculture, developments, and recreational use. Non-native, invasive plants such as yellow starthistle  can make habitat unsuitable for curlew nesting as well.


The Long-billed Curlew’s declining numbers in the Great Plains and disappearing breeding and wintering habitat make it a high-priority species for conservation throughout its range.


ABC is involved with several projects aimed at delivering full life-cycle conservation of the Long-billed Curlew. Work with Mexian NGO ProNatura and other partners to protect critical wintering areas is ongoing, and other projects aim to enhance habitat across the curlew’s breeding range.



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Photo: Alan Wilson; Range Map, NatureServe