Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)


Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis)


French: Courlis de Sibérie German: Isabellbrachvogel Spanish: Zarapito siberiano
Other common names: Eastern Curlew

Scolopax madagascariensis


, 1766,

Madagascar; error = Macassar, Sulawesi




E Siberia, from upper reaches of R Nizhnyaya Tunguska E through Verkhoyansk Mts to Kamchatka, and S to extreme NE China (NE Heilongjiang) and Ussuriland. Winters in Japan, E China and Taiwan S to Indonesia and New Guinea, but most migrate to Australia and a few reach New Zealand. Never recorded in Madagascar.

Descriptive notes

53–66 cm; 390–1350 g, male averaging 110 g lighter than female; wingspan 97–110 cm. Largest curlew with very long, heavy bill; female has longest bill of... read more


Generally considered to be harsher and more robust than those of nominate N. arquata, with... read more


Breeds in open mossy or transitional bogs, moss-lichen bogs and wet meadows, and on swampy shores... read more

Food and feeding

Diet on breeding grounds includes insects, such as larvae of beetles and flies, and amphipods. During autumn migration berries also... read more


Poorly known. Nests early May to late Jun. Often in small colonies of 2–6 pairs, with densities of up to 5·6 individuals/km... read more


Long-distance migrant; moves, generally in small flocks, along coasts of Kuril Is, Sakhalin,... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Formerly considered Near Threatened. Listed as Critically Endangered in Australia given evidence that species has perhaps declined by c. 80% in last 30 years... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis). 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 24 February 2020).