The curlews /ˈkɜːrljuːz/, genus Numenius, are a group of eight species of birds, characterised by long, slender, downcurved bills and mottled brown plumage. The English name is imitative of the Eurasian curlew’s call, but may have been influenced by the Old French corliu, “messenger”, from courir , “to run”. It was first recorded in 1377 in Langland’s Piers Plowman “Fissch to lyue in þe flode..Þe corlue by kynde of þe eyre“. In Europe “curlew” usually refers to one species, the Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata.
They are one of the most ancient lineages of scolopacid waders, together with the godwits which look similar but have straight bills.
Curlews feed on mud or very soft ground, searching for worms and other invertebrates with their long bills. They will also take crabs and similar items.
Curlews enjoy a worldwide distribution. Most species show strong migratory habits and consequently one or more species can be encountered at different times of the year in Europe, Ireland, Britain, Iberia, Iceland, Africa, Southeast Asia, Siberia, North America, South America and Australasia.
The distribution of curlews has altered considerably in the past hundred years as a result of changing agricultural practices. Reclamation and drainage of marshy fields and moorland, and afforestation of the latter, have led to local decreases, while conversion of forest to grassland in some parts of Scandinavia has led to increases there.[clarification needed]
The stone-curlews are not true curlews (family Scolopacidae) but members of the family Burhinidae, which is in the same order Charadriiformes, but only distantly related within that.
We are still looking for members to our new Facebook Group, Norfolk Photography Group this will be open to anyone who has an interest in photography. There is no limitation of region, type of photography, ability of make of camera. The group will be open to comments , suggestions and constructive critique of images posted. We hope that this will be somewhere that members can post without feeling intimidated and provide a comfortable environment for all. Why not join us and add your views and images. Photograph by Nick Lewis
You can find this image and all previous images at our Photo Gallery.
Thanks to everyone who has sent me images, however If you want this section of the site to continue I need some more of your images please send them to me for inclusion in this regular post. If you can add a short description with the image all the better.