Numenius madagascariensis, Eastern Curlew

Written by on November 19, 2010 in Bali Bird with 0 Comments

Numenius madagascariensis, Eastern Curlew, Gajahan Timur The Eastern CuNumenius madagascariensis, Eastern Curlew, Gajahan Timurrlew is the largest wader that visits Australia, with a very long down-curved bill. The female’s bill is usually longer than the male’s and averages 185 mm in length. It is a bulky, dark-streaked brown wader, with a long neck and legs. When flying, the barred flight feathers are visible, lighter under the wings and dark above. They are wary birds, quick to take flight. Their wing beats are slow and deliberate, unlike the rapid beats of the Whimbrel. Other names are Curlew and Australian or Sea Curlew.

The Eastern Curlew is the largest curlew, with a much longer bill and legs than the similar Whimbrel, Numensius phaeopus. The call of the Eastern Curlew is distinctive and the long bill is obvious in flight.

The Eastern Curlew is widespread in coastal regions .It is rarely seen inland. It breeds in Russia and north-eastern China. On passage, they are commonly seen in Japan, Korea and Borneo. Small numbers visit New Zealand.

The Eastern Curlew is found on intertidal mudflats and sandflats, often with beds of seagrass, on sheltered coasts, especially estuaries, mangrove swamps, bays, harbours and lagoons.

The Eastern Curlew is a migratory species, moving south by day and night, usually along coastlines, leaving breeding areas from mid-July to late September. Most leave again from late February to March.

The Eastern Curlew eats mainly small crabs and molluscs. Foraging by day and night, it is slow and deliberate, stalking slowly on sandy and muddy flats, picking from the surface or probing deep with its long bill.

Eastern Curlews breed in the northern hemisphere on swampy moors and boggy marshes. Both sexes have similar plumage, with the males using their haunting calls and display flights to attract a mate and defend their territory. The nest is a shallow depression lined with grass.

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