The Curlew, numenius arquate, is the largest wader in Europe.  It’s easily recognised by it’s very long, downward curved bill as well as it’s distinctive voice.   The curlew’s call is a pure ringing sound,  ‘cour-li’ ‘crwee’ or ‘croo-ee’,  it’s a loud slow delivery with a long bubbling trill. The curlew can be found all round the UK’s coastline in the winter months but it heads inland during late March early April to breed.

Curlew, Danby - Colin CarterTypical breeding habitats are moors, wet meadows and marshlands making the North York Moors the perfect breeding ground for curlews.  The nest is placed in tall grass or other vegetation, is a hollow lined with dry grass, leaves or other vegetable matter and it is  the male who makes the nest, often making several nests in the same area.  The female normal lays four eggs in April/May and both male & female incubate, which takes about 30 days.

The curlews’ diet is made up of  worms, molluscs, spiders, insects and even tadpoles, as well as berries and seeds.

Isn’t the above picture a great shot of a curlew on a stone wall in Danby, on the North York Moors, taken by Colin Carter, thanks Colin for sharing this photo via North York Moors Tourism project ‘Moors & More‘.


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