FWS Focus


The Long-billed curlew is a large, long-legged shorebird with a very long, decurved bill. Body plumage is rich buff throughout tinged with cinnamon or pink, and with upperparts streaked and barred with dark brown; underwing-lining contrasting cinnamon, and upper surface of remiges contrasting orange-brown. Sexes similar in appearance, but female averages larger with longer bill than male. Juvenile distinguished from adult by wing-coverts, which have dark-brown centers but lack dark-brown barring and pale notches. Juvenal tertials also more brightly marked than in adult, with darker, wider central stripes and cinnamon-buff versus grayish-buff ground color; underparts may also be less prominently streaked than in adults, and bill distinctly shorter, especially in newly fledged birds.

References cited in Species Profile

  • Allen, J. N. 1980. The ecology and behavior of the Long-billed Curlew in southeastern Washington. Wildl. Monogr. 73:1-67.
  • Boland, J. M. 1988. Ecology of North American shorebirds: latitudinal distributions, community structure structure
    Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

    Learn more about structure
    , foraging behaviors, and interspecific competition. Phd Thesis. Univ. of California, Los Angeles.
  • Campbell, R. W., N. K. Dawe, I. McTaggart-Cowan, J. M. Cooper, and G. W. Kaiser. 1990.The birds of British Columbia, Vol. 2: diurnal birds of prey through woodpeckers. R. Br. Columbia Mus. Victoria.
  • Chandler, R. J. 1989. North Atlantic shorebirds. Facts on File, New York.
  • Dugger, Bruce D. and Katie M. Dugger. 2002. Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/628
  • Fellows, S. D., and S. L. Jones. 2009. Status assessment and conservation action plan for the Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus). U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Technical Publication, FWS/BTP-R6012- 2009, Washington, D.C.
  • Hooper, T. D. and M. D. Pitt. 1996. Breeding bird communities and habitat associations in the grasslands of the Chilocotin region, British Columbia. Canada-British Columbia Partnership Agreement on Forest Resource Development: FRDA II.
  • Jenni, D. A., R. L. Redmond, and T. K. Bicak. 1981. Behavioral ecology and habitat relationships of Long-billed Curlew in western Idaho. Dep. Int. Bur. Land Manage. Boise District, Idaho.
  • King, R. 1978. Habitat use and related behaviors of breeding Long-billed Curlews.Master's Thesis. Colorado State Univ. Fort Collins.
  • Pampush, G. J. 1980. Status report on the Long-billed Curlew in the Columbia and Northern Great Basins. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Portland, OR.
  • Pampush, G. J. and R. G. Anthony. 1993. Nest success, habitat utilization and nest-site selection of Long-billed Curlews in the Columbia Basin, Oregon. Condor 95:957-967.
  • Paulson, D. 1993. Shorebirds of the Pacific Northwest. Univ. of Washington Press, Seattle.
  • Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley guide to birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
  • Skagen, S. K. and F. L. Knopf. 1993. Toward conservation of mid-continental shorebird migration. Conserv. Biol. 7:533-541.
  • Wolfe, L. R. 1931. The breeding Limicolae of Utah. Condor 33:49-59.

Scientific Name

Numenius americanus
Common Name
Long-billed Curlew
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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