How To Find The Curlew Bird

Find out more about the Curlew, a wader that usually lives in wetland.

| Eschenbach Arena D+ 10x50 B in Animals / Wildlife

How To Find The Curlew Bird: Curlew


Eurasian Curlew - Shorebirds in danger

Curlews feed in marsh and breed in wet meadows. This short-distance migrant knows exactly where it feels most comfortable. But as wetlands become victims of more and more agriculture, the shorebirds are in a race against time.



As you may figure, the curlew didn't get its name by chance but because of its conspicuous beak. Thin and slightly curved, it can measure up to 17cm long. A Curlew can reach a size of up to 60cm, weigh up to one kilogram and females are often larger than males. This bird is quite elegant when it walks, due to its long legs.

The plumage of an adult curlew is dashed brown and black while the wings are mixed with white. A curlew is easily recognisable, especially in flight, thanks to the white stripe on the chest wich becomes lighter towards the rump.



The circulation area of the curlew stretches from northern Europe to Siberia and about 3200 to 4000 pairs are breeding in Germany. The Leda Jümme lowland in Lower Saxony is one of the known breeding areas. In 2011, about 50 breeding pairs were registered there.

As wading birds, the curlew loves wet areas such as moorland or water meadows. In winter, it is likely to be found in the mud and on meadows and fields. It is particularly important for the curlew that its area is a flat open one with some trees, if possible.

The breeding season of the great curlews stands between March and August. They stay mainly in bogs and wet meadows and perform their impressive courtship rituals. The male flies across its breeding range, calling with melancholic vocals and slightly trilling. The nest will be built close to the ground, in a depression.

The problem for curlews is that it is more and more difficult to find nesting sites because of the increasing number of fields and agriculture taking over the wetlands.


Threats to the curlew

Outside the breeding season, the curlews stay in bogs, where they often form large groups. Their long, curved beak is then very useful: it is the perfect tool to bring small clams and worms from the mud. Unfortunately, the Eurasian curlew is under threat because its preferred habitat disappears dramatically fast.

Our agriculture demands more and more space: wet meadows and other green areas are converted into arable landscape and mowing season overlaps with the breeding season. Foxes and hawks, their natural enemies, become almost non-existent regarding the threat men have become to the curlew.

However, on the bright side, more and more farmers get subsidies for late mowing so that the curlew chicks can fledge in peace.


As well as the Curlew, you can learn more about the rare Bittern in Eschenbach's previous article: How To Find The Rare Bittern Bird. Eschenbach has also provided tips on choosing binoculars for bird photography and advice on what extra-low dispersion glass is


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