Wader Wednesday – Eurasian Whimbrel

The Eurasian whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) is the subject of this week’s Wader Wednesday. Here are a few facts about an often overlooked bird.

* Often called the May Bird as that is when it passes through UK on migration to northern breeding grounds
* UK’s breeding pop restricted to Northern Isles and Outer Hebrides
* Genus name, as with curlews, Numenius, derives from ‘neos’ meaning ‘new’ and ‘mene’ meaning moon, referring to their thin, curved beaks.
* Smaller in body size than curlews, whimbrels also have shorter straighter beaks that kink at the end
* Winters on coasts of Africa but a growing number are wintering on southern UK and Irish coasts, possibly as a result of warmer winters due to climate change
* Very similar Hudsonian whimbrel is now classed by most authorities as a separate species
* Whimbrels have a distinctive seven note call and as they often migrate at night, they are sometimes heard rather than seen on passage

And it’s also the logo of Wader Quest a wader conservation charity doing great work in raising awareness of the plight of waders across the globe.

Whimbrel on passage