Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Near Threatened

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)


French: Courlis cendré German: Großer Brachvogel Spanish: Zarapito real

Scolopax Arquata


, 1758,



Name suschkini sometimes spelt erroneously as sushkini. Racial variation clinal; suschkini sometimes treated as a synonym of orientalis, but apparently distinct enough#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. a. arquata (Linnaeus, 1758) – British Is and France across W Europe (N to Arctic Circle) and E to R Volga and Urals; winters from Iceland and British Is S to Mediterranean and NW Africa, and E to Persian Gulf and W India.
  • N. a. suschkini Neumann, 1929 – lower R Volga and Urals E to SW Siberia and N Kazakhstan; winters along coasts of sub-Saharan Africa and SW Asia.
  • N. a. orientalis C. L. Brehm, 1831 – C Siberia E through C Russia to NE China (C Heilongjiang); winters in E & S Africa, Madagascar, and from S Caspian Sea S to Persian Gulf and E through S Asia to E China and S Japan, and S to Philippines and Greater Sundas.
  • Descriptive notes

    50–60 cm; male 410–1010 g, female 475–1360 g; wingspan 80–100 cm. Large greyish-brown curlew with long bill and plain head pattern; head, neck, breast... read more


    A loud rich, ringing “COURli ... COURli ... COURli ...” is heard at any time of year, being used in... read more


    Breeds on peat bogs, fens, upland moors (where prefers areas of relatively heterogeneous vegetation... read more

    Food and feeding

    Throughout year, diet includes annelids, arthropods, crustaceans, molluscs, berries and seeds; occasionally vertebrates, including small... read more


    Lays Apr to early Jul. Monogamous and territorial, with most territory defence by male, usually using undulating display flight, which is... read more


    Mostly migratory; some birds resident in W of range, especially in British Is and Ireland. Small... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Global population thought to number c. 77,000–1,065,000 individuals (2006 data), of which > 190,000... read more

    Recommended citation

    Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 February 2020).