WHIMBREL

WHIMBREL(Numenius phaeopus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Whimbrel is a shore bird with a downward curved bill, which is dark. It has a generally mottled brown and white plumage. The head has horizontal white and brown bands. The bird has a long neck and long grey legs. Both sexes are similar, and juveniles are similar to the adults. This is a rather large bird with a wingspan of around 80 cm (30 inches), and a length of 16 inches (40 cm).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Numenius-phaeopus
NAME: The English name ‘Whimbrel’ derives from ‘whimpernel’, a word coined in 1530 in England to refer to the ‘whimpering’ calls of the bird. The Latin genus name ‘Numenius’ comes from Greek and means ‘new moon’, referring to the bill shape. And the Latin species name ‘phaeopus’ and means ‘dusky foot’.
HABITAT: The summer range of the whimbrel is the tundra, and during migration it is found along the coasts and inland in fields.
DIET: The whimbrel has a specialized bill to probe into the sand or mud for crustaceans. They will also eat berries and insects.
NESTING: The nest is located on the ground. An average of four beige eggs are laid. The chicks are independent from hatching.
DISTRIBUTION: In the summer, whimbrels breed in the sub-Arctic regions of western Canada and of Alaska, and Scandinavia. They winter along the coastal areas of all continents except Antarctica. It is a rare visitor to Hawaii in the winter.
Distribution map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whimbrel#/media/File:Numenius_phaeopus_map.svg
ON PEI: The whimbrel does not breed on Prince Edward Island. The birds can be observed on island beaches during their migrating season.
CONSERVATION: The whimbrel is widespread around the world, but is losing habitat due to degradation or development along the coasts. Little is known about its population trends, but in spite of this it is still considered as of ‘least concern’.
NOTES: The whimbrel is part of the curlew family of birds, which all have a long downward curved bill. The bird will gather in large flocks during migration.
During its migration south, one female got caught in tropical storm Erica for 12 hours. Her trek was tracked thanks to a tracking device.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Long-billed Curlew, Bristle-thighed Curlew
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whimbrel
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Whimbrel/overview
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/whimbrel
http://birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/whimbrel
http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Numenius-phaeopus
http://www.torontobirding.ca/site/page/view/projects.whimbrel
http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/whimbrel.htm (New Hampshire PBS)

Whimbrel - Reykjavik area, Iceland - June 16, 2017 - by Roberta Palmer
Whimbrel – Reykjavik area, Iceland – June 16, 2017 – Roberta Palmer
Whimbrel - Brander's Pond, PEI - Apr. 21, 2017 - © Marie Smith
Whimbrel – Brander’s Pond, PEI – Apr. 21, 2017 – © Marie Smith

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