Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Least Concern

Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus)


French: Courlis à long bec German: Rostbrachvogel Spanish: Zarapito americano

Numenius americanus


, 1812,

New York


Race parvus was formerly labelled occidentalis, but unverifiable as type lost. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. a. parvus Bishop, 1910 – SC British Columbia E to S Saskatchewan, and S in USA to NE California and South Dakota; winters from California (irregularly N to Washington) and Louisiana S to Mexico.
  • N. a. americanus Bechstein, 1812 – NE Nevada E to South Dakota and S to C Utah, C New Mexico, NW Oklahoma and N Texas; winters from California and Texas S to Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador.
  • Descriptive notes

    50–65 cm; males 445–792 g, females 630–951 g; wingspan 87 cm. Large cinnamon-coloured curlew with droplet-shaped bill tip; fairly large eye; upperparts... read more


    Up to eight calls described, the most frequent of which are the “curluoo” whistle comprising two... read more


    Prairies, including damp meadowland, grain fields, grazed mixed grass and drier short-grass areas,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Adult and larval insects. During non-breeding season often feeds on burrow-dwelling crustaceans (e.g. mud crabs and shrimps), also on... read more


    Lays Apr–May, exceptionally late Mar (NC Oregon), with replacement nests recorded until early Jul. Density 0·6–2·... read more


    Relatively short-distance migrant, which arrives on breeding grounds early, mid Mar or early Apr (... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Population size of race americanus was not certainly known, although in the region of 23,000 birds were estimated to be... read more

    Recommended citation

    Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus). 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 16 February 2020).