Eastern Curlew

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Numenius madagascariensis

Critically Endangered


Size 53-65cm.

The largest migratory wader in Australia. Upper parts are sandy with darker streaks on head and neck. Wings heavily mottled/streaked dark brown. Tail has dark bars. Underparts grey/buff with breast paling to whitish on belly. The extremely long bill is 3.5-4 times the length of the head, and is down turned, black, with a reddish base. It has a pale eye ring. The legs are grey and longer than the tail in flight.

Feeding Habits

Active at low tide and during the night, using its long bill to probe in the mud/sand for marine worms and crabs.


Nest on mossy marshes in Russia and North Eastern China. Some birds stay in this region over the winter period.

Places to Look

Coastal mudflats, sandy beaches, mangroves and estuaries, Kings Beach, Bowen, Balgal Beach, and the mudflats at the end of Boundary Street South Townsville.


Reclamation of mudflats for development takes away suitable feeding habitat.


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

© Birdlife Townsville
© Birdlife Townsville

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