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curlew

curlew (kûr´lōō), common name for large shore birds of both hemispheres, generally brown and buff in color and with decurved bills. There are eight species, belonging to the genus Numenius. The long-billed curlew, N. americanus, its bill almost one third the body length (about 2 ft/61 cm), is now rare in the E United States; it frequents salt marshes, prairies, and tidal creeks in the West. In summer it eats locusts and other injurious insects. The Hudsonian and the nearly extinct Eskimo curlews migrate from arctic breeding grounds to South America. The bristle-thighed curlew summers and nests in Alaska and winters on South Pacific islands, where it feeds on the eggs of other birds. The curlew makes a nonstop flight between breeding grounds. Some of the godwits and ibises are called curlews. Curlews are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Charadriiformes, family Scolopacidae.

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curlew

cur·lew / ˈkərˌloō; ˈkərlˌyoō/ • n. (pl. same or curlews ) a large wading bird (genus Numenius) of the sandpiper family, with a long down-curved bill and brown streaked plumage. Its several species include the North American long-billed curlew (N. americanus).

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curlew

curlew Long-legged wading bird with a down-curved bill and mottled brown plumage. Often migrating long distances, it feeds on small animals, insects and seeds, and nests on the ground, laying two to four eggs. Length: to 48–62cm (19–25in). Species Numenius arquata.

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curlew

curlew †quail; wading bird with musical cry. XIV. ME. cor-, curlu(e) — (O)F. courlieu, var. of courlis, orig. imit. of the bird's cry, but prob. assim. to OF. courliu courier, messenger, f. courre run (cf. CURRENT), lieu place :- L. locus (cf. LOCAL).

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curlews

curlews
1. See SCOLOPACIDAE.

2. (stone-curlew) See BURHINDIAE.

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curlew

curlew •Yalu • igloo • Oulu •Honolulu, KwaZulu, lulu, Zulu •Pagalu • Angelou • ormolu •superglue • curlew

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Curlews

Curlews

Curlews are large, brownish shorebirds (family Scolopacidae) with long legs and lengthy, downward curving bills, adapted for probing into sediment and soil for their food of invertebrates.

The most abundant curlews in North America are the long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus ) and the whimbrel, or Hudsonian curlew (N. phaeopus ). The long-billed curlew breeds in wet meadows and grassy habitats in the western United States and southwestern Canada, and winters on mud flats and beaches in southern California and parts of the Gulf of Mexico. This species appears to be declining in abundance, likely as a result of the loss of most of its natural habitat, and possibly because of damage caused by pesticides.

The whimbrel breeds further to the north in two subarctic populations, one in coastal Alaska and northwestern Canada, and the other around the west coast of Hudson Bay. The whimbrel also breeds in northern Eurasia. The winter range of this species is very broad, ranging from the southern coastal United States, to the coasts of Central and South America, and some Pacific islands.

The bristle-thighed curlew (N. tahitiensis ) is a rare species with a total population of fewer than 10, 000 individuals. The bristle-thighed curlew breeds in montane habitat in western Alaska, and migrates directly south, to winter on widely scattered islands of the Pacific Ocean, including the Hawaiian Islands. The 5, 000-5, 600 mi (8, 000-9, 000 km) migration of this species is an extraordinary feat of non-stop flight while navigating over trackless water, in search of its scattered wintering islands.

The Eskimo curlew (N. borealis ) is the smallest of the North American species, only 11 in (28 cm) in body length. This species was once abundant during its migrations. However, the Eskimo curlew was decimated by market hunting during the nineteenth century, and is now exceedingly rare, and on the verge of extinction (in fact, some biologists believe it is already extinct). The Eskimo curlew is one of many examples of once abundant species that have become extinct or endangered as a result of uncontrolled exploitation by humans. Such tragedies represent lessons to be learned, so that similar calamities of biodiversity can be avoided in the future.

See also Sandpipers; Shore birds.

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Curlews

Curlews

Curlews are large, brownish shorebirds (family Scolopacidae) with long legs and lengthy, downward curving bills, adapted for probing into sediment and soil for their food of invertebrates .

Although neither species of North American curlew is common, the most abundant ones are the long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus) and the whimbre, or Hudsonian curlew (N. phaeopus). The long-billed curlew breeds in wet meadows and grassy habitats in the western United States and southwestern Canada, and winters on mud flats and beaches in southern California and parts of the Gulf of Mexico. This species appears to be declining in abundance, likely as a result of the loss of most of its natural habitat , and possibly because of damage caused by pesticides .

The whimbrel breeds further to the north in two sub-arctic populations, one in coastal Alaska and northwestern Canada, and the other around the west coast of Hudson Bay. The whimbrel also breeds in northern Eurasia. The winter range of this species is very broad, ranging from the southern coastal United States, to the coasts of Central and South America , and some Pacific islands.

The bristle-thighed curlew (N. tahitiensis) is a rare species with a total population of fewer than 10,000 individuals. The bristle-thighed curlew breeds in montane habitat in western Alaska, and migrates directly south, to winter on widely scattered islands of the Pacific Ocean, including the Hawaiian Islands. The 5,000–5,600 mi (8,000–9,000 km) migration of this species is an extraordinary feat of non-stop flight while navigating over trackless water , in search of its scattered wintering islands.

The Eskimo curlew (N. borealis) is the smallest of the North American species, only 11 in (28 cm) in body length. This species was once abundant during its migrations. However, the Eskimo curlew was decimated by market hunting during the nineteenth century, and is now exceedingly rare, and on the verge of extinction (in fact, some biologists believe it is already extinct). The Eskimo curlew is one of many examples of once abundant species that have become extinct or endangered as a result of uncontrolled, unscrupulous exploitation by humans. Such tragedies represent lessons to be learned, so that similar calamities of biodiversity can be avoided in the future.

See also Sandpipers; Shore birds.

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