Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Critically Endangered

Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris)


French: Courlis à bec grêle German: Dünnschnabel-Brachvogel Spanish: Zarapito fino

Numenius tenuirostris


, 1817,





SW Siberia; precise breeding range virtually unknown (the only confirmed breeding site, during first quarter of 20th century, was near Tara, N of Omsk)#R. Winters in N Africa and E to Iraq and Persian Gulf. No verified records since 2001; increasingly likely to be extinct.

Descriptive notes

36–41 cm; 255–360 g (two specimens); wingspan 80–92 cm. Very pale curlew, with shortish, slim, pointed bill; white or pale buff ground colour of head, neck... read more


Very limited data. Gives a “cour-lee” similar to the call of N. arquata, but has been... read more


Breeds in extensive peat bogs with some small willow (Salix) and birch (Betula)... read more

Food and feeding

Outside breeding season, takes annelids, molluscs, snails, crustaceans and small insects, such as grasshoppers, earwigs and beetles. Probes... read more


Very little known. Eggs found in May and species was said to arrive on breeding grounds no earlier than c. 10 May; may apparently breed in... read more


SW–WSW migration towards Mediterranean, mainly terminating in Atlantic Morocco and in Tunisia... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. CITES I. Has only been definitely recorded breeding in Tara region N of Omsk in SW Siberia (although also claimed in Iran), but no nesting records... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris). 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).