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Long-billed Curlew

These birds are named after their exceptionally long bills.

The Long-billed Curlew is unusual in several regards. It is the largest shorebird in North America, and it breeds in shortgrass plains rather than along shorelines. At almost eight inches long, the Long-billed Curlew’s bill is certainly one of its most remarkable features.

Long-billed Curlews strongly defend breeding territories, although they frequently leave them to forage. Females first breed at age two or three, while males first breed at age three or four. Eight or ten years is thought to be a typical lifespan, but a maximum lifespan is not known.

 

Description of the Long-billed Curlew

BREEDING MALE

The Long-billed Curlew is a very large shorebird with an incredibly long, downcurved bill. It has long legs and cinnamon-brownish plumage.

Buffy wing linings visible in flight.  Length: 23 in.  Wingspan: 35 in.

Long-billed Curlew

Female

Sexes similar. Bills longer on females.

Seasonal change in appearance

None.

Juvenile

Juveniles are similar to adults but have shorter bills.

Habitat

Shortgrass plains, rangeland, cultivated fields, and tidal flats.

Long-billed Curlew

Photograph © Greg Lavaty.

Diet

Insects and crustaceans.

Behavior

Forages by walking and probing with its bill.

Range

Breeds in a large portion of the inland western rangelands, and winters in California and the southwestern U.S.

More information:

Bent Life History

Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Long-billed Curlew.

Wing Shape

The shape of a bird’s wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species’ identification.

Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History

Fun Facts

Long-billed Curlew are very sensitive to disturbance during the nesting season.

Long-billed Curlews defend nesting territories, but frequently forage outside of the territory.

Vocalizations

The call is a loud “cur-lee”.

 

Similar Species

  • Whimbrel
    Whimbrels are smaller with shorter bills and have dark head stripes.

 

Nesting

The nest is a scrape in the ground.

Number: 4.
Color: Buff or olive with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:  Young hatch at 27-30 days. Young fledge (leave the nest) in 32-45 days after hatching but remain with the adults for some time.

 

Bent Life History of the Long-billed Curlew

Published by the Smithsonian Institution between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Bent life history series of monographs provide an often colorful description of the birds of North America. Arthur Cleveland Bent was the lead author for the series. The Bent series is a great resource and often includes quotes from early American Ornithologists, including Audubon, Townsend, Wilson, Sutton and many others.

Bent Life History for the Long-billed Curlew – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.

 

LONG-BILLED CURLEW
NUMENIUS AMEBICANUS (Bechstein)
HABITS

One can not see this magnificent bird for the first time without experiencing a thrill of enthusiasm for the largest, one of the most interesting and notable of our shore birds, one that seems to embody more than any other the wild, roving spirit of the vast open prairies. Its large size, its long, curving bill, the flash of cinhamon in its wings, and above all, its loud, clear, and prolonged whistling notes are bound to attract attention. In its former abundance this species must have been a most striking feature of the western plains, as it flew in large wedge-shaped flocks in full cry. The last of the great open prairies are rapidly disappearing; and ïwith them are going the curlews, the marbled godwits, the uplhnd plover, the longspurs, and a host of other birds that can not stand the encroachments of agriculture.

The long-billed curlew formerly bred over a large portion of central North America, including all of the prairie regions, at least as far east as Michigan and Illinois, and probably Ohio. But, with the settling of the country and the disappearance of the prairies, it has been gradually driven farther and farther west, and even there into a more and more restricted range. It seems to me that we can hope for its survival only on the maintenance of large, open ranges as grazing lands for cattle where it still continues to breed.

It was apparently quite common as a migrant in New England up to about the middle of the last century. The birds seen here were probably migrants from the more eastern prairies. The numerous citations given by Edward H. Forbush (1912) show its gradual decline, until now it is only a rare stragglbr anywhere on the Atlantic coast. In Audubon’s time it was abundant in winter and as a migrant on the coasts of Florida and South Carolina. I have never seen one during my various seasons in Florida and Arthur T. Wayne (1910) says:

Since 1885 is has been supplanted by the Hufisonian curlew (N. hedsonicu-s), which is still exceedingly abundant during the spring and al]tumn migrations. From 1879 to 1885, arnericanus was to be found in the immediate vicinity of Charleston, but its numbers steadily diminished year after year until at the present time it is so rare that It is seldom seen; In fact I have not seen one since September 23, 1899. Audubon, In his Birds of America, states, upon the authority of Doctor Bachman, that this curlew “breeds on the islands on the coast of South Carolina, and it places its nests so close together, that it is almost impossible for a man to walk between tbem without injuring the eggs.” It may appear hypercritical to question Doctor Bachman’s statement that this species bred on tbe coast islands, hut tbe eggs were not described by either Audubon or himself, and as far back as 1879 there were no eggs of N. arnericanus in the Charleston Museum, while the eggs of the “Stone Curlew” (Cat@trop/torus semipaltaatus) were well represented and xvere classified as eggs of the long-billed curlew, I have been unable to obtain any evidence, even from the “oldest inhabitants,” that this species ever bred anywhere on the South Carolina coast.

Dr. Thomas S. Roberts (1919) says of its status in Minnesota:

As late at least as 1883 it was still breeding in southern Jackson County (3. W. Preston) and Gleason saw a single bird of this species near Euclid, Polk County, on June 17, 18~7, which at that date may be assumed to have been a breeding bird. This report of Gleason’s is the very last record of the long-billed curlew in Minnesota known to the writer. It ceased to be generally abundant somewhere about 1880 and rapidly decreased In numbers, even as a migrant, until it disappeared entirely about the close of the last century.

It apparently ceased to breed in Illinois before 1880; the last published breeding record was in 1873. It probably still breeds in the interior of Texas and perhaps on the coastal prairies as well, for J. J. Carroll writes to me that on July 9 and 10, 1926, he saw 8 or 10 long-billed curlews near Matagorda Bay that acted as if they had young. It is now a very rare bird at any season east of the Mississippi River.

Spring: The spring migration is now a general northward mov~ment throughout the western half of the United States; there was formerly a heavy flight up the Atlantic coast as far as the Carolinas and a straggling flight farther north. The n~igration begins in March, but the main movement is during April and most of the birds reach their breeding grounds in April. Only one of my correspondents in Manitoba and Alberta mentions the long-billed curlew and he has seen only one in 15 years; so it must be disappearing very rapidly there.

Courtship: The spring behavior of these curlews, or what might be called a nuptial flight is thus described by P. M. Silloway (1900):

After their arrival, the curlews inhabit the high, dry prairies, flying restlessly from one portion to another, showing a tendency to associate in pairs, though as couples, these birds are not inseparable. In the mating season, one of the pair is likely to follow the other in a few moments, when the first bird has flown far over the prairie to a more distant station. At any time the loud, prolonged whistling of these birds, either when on the ground or a-wing, will (-all attention to their movements, warning the disturber of their domain that his presence is known and that his actions will be watched with the closest interest.

One of the pleasing sights to the ornithologist In watching the behavior of these curlews Is seen when a pair are sailing upward in company abreast of the wind, moving in perfect accord on widespread, motionless pinions curved gently downward, within several feet of each other, then fluttering downward side by side or one In advance of the other, again to sail upward, uttering the characteristic whistles.

Nesting: The long-billed curlew is likely to nest almost anywhere on the boundless prairie, though we have found it, in Saskatchewan, showing a decided preferance for damp, grassy hollows in the prairie, or long slopes near the lakes or watercourses. The nest is a very simple affair, a slight hollow in the ground, usually thinly lined with grasses or weeds; but sometimes quite a substantial platform of grass is made and slightly hollowed. The female is often quite conspicuous, as she sits on the nest with her neck stretched out on the ground, and can sometimes be seen at a distance of 100 feet; she usually sits very closely and can sometimes be approached within S or 10 feet before flushing.

In some notes sent to me by A. 0. Treganza, from Box Elder and Weber Counties, Utah, he says that in one “particular locality (Weber County) the birds seem to be quite gregarious, possibly due to food conditions. While there are many square miles of what seems to be similar country, they seem to have chosen a veyy small area in which to breed.” Here he found sometimes two females sharing the same nest, resulting in sets of from five to eight eggs. In other localities, in Box Elder County, they do not seem to be at all gregarious. In one instance he found four eggs of the western willet and one of the curlew in a nest, with both the willet and curlew on guard.

P. M. Silloway (1903) has had some extensive experience with the nesting of the long-billed curlew in Fergus County, Mont. Some of his nests were on the high dry prairie a long way from any water, but most of them were in such situations as I have described above. Several of his nests were in depressions beside dried cow dung, where, perhaps, the bird was not quite so conspicuous; and chips of dried cow dung often entered into the composition of the nest. In a typical nest “the cavity was 8 inches across and 2 inches deep. The brim of the nest was elevated an inch and a half above the surroundings.” lie has writtefi (1900 and 1903) some interesting accounts of his experiences in hunting for nests, and sums up the behavior of the birds as follows:

The male curlew is a most jealous guardian of the premises near the nest. ~Vhen the female is sitting on her eggs, the male will denote a watchful interest in the movements of anyone who is within several hundred yards of the nest At such times he will come flying from some quarter of the pasture, and with angry cackling will alight near the disturber, impatiently feeding and watching tho movements of the one threatening the peace of his household. If the observer approaches nearer the nest the male will begin to fly at him in a straight courae, turning upward abruptly with a loud whiff of wings when It stems that the disturber must certainly be struck by the determined defender of his home. The nest may still be more than a hundred yards beyond the observer. In the majority of instances it lies ahead in the line the male points in his flight. As the disturber gets nearer, the male shows more distress and flutters wildly overhead, flying at the disturber from every direction, though not from long distances as before. All the while the female is sitting unconcerned on her eggs, indifferent to the angry and distressed cackling of her ~pouse. Perhaps by this time a half dozen or more other males have joined in the outcry, and frequently one of these allies will try to mislead the disturber.

The female sits very closeLy upon her eggs, flattening herself upon them in such a manner that she resembles a dead chicken lying on the ground. When flushed from the nest she will fly low for 30 or 40 fcet. or flutter from the nest and run a~vkwardly for a short distance, feigning to be crippled. Frequently she will lower her head, with bill almost touching the ground, and run along in a shamefaced manner. Before the nest is discovered the males who are aiding to mislead the observer will sometimes act in this shamefaced way.

Eggs: Four eggs are ordinarily laid by the long-billed curlew, occasionally five; as many as eight have been found in a nest, evidently the product of two females. The eggs vary in shape from ovate to short ovate or ovate pyriform, sometimes quite rounded; and they have a slight gloss. The prevailing ground colors are in various shades of “olive buff”; but some dark types are “ecru olive,” some gre en types are “seafoam green” and some are as pale as buffy white. The eggs are generally quite evenly spotted, some very thickly and some very sparingly, with various shades of brown and olive, “Vandyke brown,” “bister,” “snuff brown,” “huffy brown,” and “buffy olive,” with numerous underlying markings in various shades of “brownish drab” and “drab gray.” A very handsome set has a rich buff ground color, between “honey yellow” and “chamois,” uniformly covered with small spots of rich browns, “Sudan brown” to “russet.” The measurements of 68 eggs aver age 65 by 45.8 millimeters; the eggs showing (he four extremes measure 72 by 48, 70 by 48.5, 56 by 43.5, and 62.5 by 42 millimeters.

Young: Incubation is said to be shared by both sexes; its exact duration does not seem to be recorded, but for the European curlew it is said to be 30 days. Both birds are certainly very solicitous in the care of the young. We were too late for eggs in Saskatchewan, but we found three broods of young. On June 1, 1905, we found two small young curlews, hardly able to walk, in a grassy hollow in the prairie; the old birds gave us a great exhibition of parental solicitude, flying about, alighting on the ground near us and making a great outcry. Their loud cries brought a third curlew which joined in the chorus of whistling cries.

When large enough to run, the young are adepts in the art of hiding; they seem to disappear entirely, even in the short grass; after hunting carefully for fully half an hour, over a limited area where we had seen one vanish, we gave it up and walked away, when we were surprised to see the youngster get up and run away from the very spot we had been hunting hardest.

Probably the mortality among young curlews is rather high, as they have many enemies. All three of the broods we found contained only two young. The parents have to work hard to preserve even this average. We saw an interesting exhibition of parental strategy one day, which probably succeeded in saving some young curlews from the jaws of a prowling coyote. The curlew was decoying the coyote away by feigning lameness, flopping along the ground a few yards ahead of him, but always managing to barely escape him. We watched them for some time until they finally disappeared over a hill, fully half a mile from where we first saw them.

Plumages: The young curlew, when first hatched, is completely covered with long, thick, soft down. The color varies from “warm buff” on the breast and flanks, to “cream buff” on the face, upper parts and belly and to “cream color” on the throat; the crown is even paler. The markings, which are brownish black in color, consist of ~ broken and narrow median stripe on the forehead, irregular spotting on the posterior part of the head and large, bold, irregular spotting on the back, wings, and thighs. In older birds the bright buffs fade to paler shades.

I have seen no specimens showing the change from downy to juvenal plumage. The latter is very much like that of the winter adult, but it is somewhat more tawny, especially below, and the streaks on the neck and breast are fewer and narrower. The first winter plumage is apparently a continuation of the juvenal, subject to some wear and fading, and with very little molting. By spring young birds are practically indistinguishable from adults.

Adults have a complete postnuptiaL molt from August to Novem ber, most of which is accomplished in September and October, including the wings. The prenuptial molt, which involves the body plumage, most of the scapulars, many wing coverts and the tail, is prolonged through the spring, from February to June. Food:

On their breeding grounds, and to a large extent in their winter quarters, these curlews are upland feeders, far out on the open prairies, in the damp, grassy hollows, or about the edges of prairie sloughs or ponds. But on migrations they are often seen feeding on ocean beaches or about the shores of large lakes. I have seen them on the beaches of southern California feeding at the surf line in company with marbled godwits. They were wading out into the retreating waves, picking up some small objects about an inch long or less, probably mollusks. They seemed to experience some difficulty in properly grasping the morsel with the tips of the long mandibles, but when once started right they handled it very ïskillfully, as the shell seemed to travel swiftly up the long bill and into the mouth. They are said to probe in the soft sand to the full extent of the long bill, but I did not see them do this. C. W. Wickersham (1902) has described the food and the feeding habits of the long-billed curlew very well as follows: Crawfish, small crabs, snails, periwinkles, toads, worms, larvae, gra~hoppers, crickets, beetles, caterpillars when found on the ground, spiders, flies, bntterffies, and berries, especially dewherries, all play minor or major parts in their diet. The worms, larvae, etc., are pulled out of the ground by the long bill, the end of which may act as a finger having separate muscles to control it, and often it Is sunk Into the ground as far as it wili go to reach some unwilling victim. The crustaceans are taken on the beach, or, discovered beneath the surface by the probing bill, are pulled out and eaten. The berries are neatly picked off the bushes, while butterflies and other Insects are taken on the wing.

Behavior: Except on their breeding grounds, where they are concerned in the welfare of their eggs or young, long-billed curlews are exceedingly ~vary; when a flock is feeding, one or more birds usually stand as sentinels, and at their cry of warning the whole flock raise their wings and make off. Their flight is a bit erratic or snipelike at first, but when well under way it is strong and steady. While migrating or traveling for long distances they often fly high in the air in wedge-shaped flocks, uttering occasionally their loud, whistling notes. When alighting they drop nearly to the ground, make a graceful upward sweep, and check their speed with a flash of cinnamon wings. They walk gracefully and swiftly on land and can swim if necessary.

The night roosting habits are well described by Audubon (1840), who saw them at their best in South Carolina. lie writes: The long-billed curlew spends the day In the sea marshes, from which it returns at the approach of night to the sandy beaches of the seashores, where It rests until dawn. As the sun sinks beneath the horizon the curlews rise from their feeding grounds in small parties, seldom exceeding 15 or 20, and more usually composed of only 5 or 6 individuals. The flocks enlarge, however, as they proceed, and In the course of an hour or so the number of birds that collect in the place selected for their nightly retreat sometimes amounts to several thousands. As it was my good fortune to witness their departures and arrivals, in the company of my friend, Bachman, I will here describe them. The sun at length sunk beneath the water line that here formed the horizon, and we saw the birds making their first appearance. They were In small parties of 2, 3, or 5, and by no means shy. These seemed to be the birds which we had observed near the salt marshes as we were on our way. As the twilight became darker the number of curlews increased, and the flocks approached in quicker succession until they appeared to form a continuous procession, moving not in lines, one after another, but In an extended mass, and with considerable regularity, at a height of not more than 30 yards, the Individuals being a few feet apart. Not a single note or cry was heard as they advanced. They moved for 10 or more yards with regular flappings, and then sailed for a few seconds, as Is Invariably the mode of flight of this species, their long bills and legs stretched out to their full extent. They flew directly toward their place of rest, called the “Bird Banks,” and were seen to alight without performing any of the evolutions which they exhibit when at their feeding places, for they had not been disturbed that season. But when we followed them to the Bird Banks, which are sandy Islands of small extent, the moment they saw us land the congregated flocks, probably amounting to several thousand individuals, all standing close together, rose at once, performed a few evolutions in perfect silence, and realighted as if with one accord on the extreme margins of the sand bank close to tremendous breakers. It was now dark and we left the place, although some flocks were still arriving. The next morning we returned a little before day, but again as we landed they all rose a few yards in the air, separated into numerous parties, and, dispersing in various directions, flew off toward their feeding grounds, keeping low over the water until they reached the shores, when they ascended to the height of about a hundred yards and soot) disappeared.

A similar habit evidently prevails on the prairies, which Mr. Wickersham (1902) describes very well as follows:

As evening falls he becomes restless, his hunting comes to an enti, his bobbing becomes more jerky and more and more repeated, until with a loud whistle he jumps forward, his long wings fly out and up and with the first unsteadiness over he joins the bunch in a long line and betakes his way with the others toward some distant marsh or pond. On, on they go; the leader whistles, the others answer, suddenly they all drop, sweep forward and up a little, and then, with wings almost meeting above them and legs held daintily down to bkeak the shock, they all alight. For five minutes there is no movement, no sound; there are no birds to be seen where, a moment before, the graceful creatures had alighted; suddenly there is a little flutter of wings and hefore you know It numerous forms have run forward and heat over the ;vater to noisily quench their thirst. For another five minutes there Is as great a confusion and clamor as formerly there was order and quiet; wings are fluttering, hoarse, short cries are arising, feet are puttering up and down, the water is heavily rippling from the motion of many bills, and, in a word, all is chaos. One by one the drinkers cease, calmness is gradually restored, and, after pluming themselves, the birds draw one leg up under them, tuck their head under one wing, neatly fold the other, and sweet slumber reigns.

On its behavior with other species Mr. Silloway (1900) writes:

There Is another side to the Csposition of the long-billed curlew, for this spring I was once startled by an unusually piercing whistle, and looking upward I saw a curlew swooping angrily upon a ferruginous roughleg that had chanced to wander over the claimed domain of this pair of Numendi. Time and again the curlew swooped upon the unoffending Archibuteo as the latter flapped heavily along the edge of the coulee, and the cliff echoed with the shrill whistles of the angry curlew. On the other hand, the long-billed curlews are the victims of petty teasing by the longspurs which throng the prairie. I have repeatedly noticed McCown’s longspur (Rftynehephancs mcco wait) flutter up buside a curlew, sailing upward, or attempt to strike the curlew, the latter on such occasions seldom giving any attention to the petty annoyance mentioned.

E. S. Cameron (1907) says that he has seen nesting curlews make flying attacks at Swainson and marsh hawks, just as the European curlews attack the jaegers.

Voice: Long-billed curlews are noisy birds, especially on their breeding grounds. I have recorded their ordinary notes of protest, when near their nests or young, as loud musical whistles, like quee,4ee, quce-hee, quee-hee, sometimes prolonged into a long, rattling call, que-/te-he-he-ke-lte, loud and striking. Sometimes we heard a series of somewhat guttural notes, or a melodius coy, coy, coy, somewhat like the autumn gather call of the bobwhite. I have heard them in Texas in the spring give rich, loud, musical notes as they flew, wheety, wheety, wheety, very rapidly uttered, opening the bill with each note. Our name “curlew ” and the French “curlieu” are probably both derived from one of the commonest and most characteristic calls.

P. A. Taverner (1926) says:

The commonest call note is a clear pU-will, so nearly like that of the ~vil1et that it can not always be distinguished from it. Other notes resemble those of the upland plover. One especially delightful is a long-drawn curl-e-e-e-u-a-is, sparkling clear and rising in the mddle about five notes, then dying gradually away, lowering in scale and volume. The entire call lasts about three seconds of time.

Field marks: The long-billed curlew can be easily iecognized by its large size, long, curved bill, and cinnamon color. It is much larger than the Hudsonian and much more cinnamon in color, especially in the wings. It is much like the marbled godwit in color, but its curved bill is easily distinguished from the straight bill of the godwit.

Fall: I quote again from Mr. Wickersham (190Q) as follows:

July is spent in raising the chicks and by the middle or latter part of August all is ready for the flight south to Texas, Mexico, Florida, and the West IndIes. Then It Is that we see them in great flocks of hundreds, bobbing up and down all over the prairie, more nervous than ever; and then it Is that they are least wary at times and at other times so very wary that it Is Impossible to approach them. They are so nervous and upset that they do not seem to know their own mind and It is at that season of the year that their antIcs become almost as ridiculous as they are just before the breeding season. The day comes when you stroll out to take notes on the birds that you have seen by the hundreds the day before only to find that they have disappeared; not a bird answers your call, no hoarse screaming betokens your approach; they have gone, gone far away In long V-like squadrons and, unless you follow them to theIr winter home in the southland, you will not see their familiar forms for many months.

The long-billed curlew is now practically unknown in any of the Eastern States, but it foi’merly appeared on the Atlantic coast about the middle of July and in the Southern States in early August. It is still quite common in California from the middle of July through September. The main flight goes directly south to Texas and Mexico.

Game: Although long since removed from the game-bird list, the “sickle-bill” was a fine game bird. Its large size made it a tempting target. It decoyed readily and could be easily whistled down by imitating its notes. The cries of a wounded bird were sure to attract others, which would circle around again and again until many were killed. For these and other reasons it is well that the much-needed protection came in time to save this fine bird from certain extermination..

Dr. D. 0. Elliot (1895) writes:

Once when shooting In Florida, In the vicinity of St. Augustine, a large flock of these birds passed overhead, and I brought down some by two shots from my gun. Although naturally much alarmed, the survivors Immediately returned to their wounded companions, which were calling aloud as they lay upon the marsh, flying over and around them, with hanging legs, and uttering answering notes of sympathy, and approaching nearer and nearer until they west not many feet above the ground. Repeated discharges of my gun failed for a time to drive the unwounded birds from the vicinity, but as each individual fell from the ranks, the rest would swoop toward it, and with much crying seem to urge it to rise and follow them. The air was full of rapid-flying circling birds, each one screaming its best, and it was not until a considerable number had fallen that the remainder, convinced at length of the fruitlessness of their efforts, and the danger present to themselves, departed for a more secure locality.

Winter: The long-billed curlew is still quite common in Texas and Mexico in winter. Mr. Wickersham (1902) says:

After reaching its winter home, the curlew undergoes little change of habits except in his relation to other birds. For a few days the big hunches stay rogether and then they begin to separate into small hunches of from 2 to 20 birds. It is rarely that a single one is seen entirely by himself hut two or three feeding together and then, perhaps a mile off, two or three more and in this way scattered all over the pastures and prairies is the way we find them in Texas. They are rarely found in the brush or even in ponds or swales surrounded by the brush, but far out on the open prairie or In little mud flats on the larger swales we rarely miss them. Here they feed all day looking for almost any form of insectivorous or crustacean life.

DISTRIBUTION
Range: North and Central America, accidental in the West Indies and Newfoundland. Failure to accurately separate the different curlews, particularly on the Atlantic seaboard, causes some uncertainty regarding their general ranges, but americanue is evidently now very rare east of the Mississippi River.

Breeding range: The long-billed curlew breeds (at least formerly) north to British Columbia (150-mile House, probably Lac La Hache, and Vernon); Alberta (near Calgary, probably Flagstaff, and Walsh); Saskatchewan (Rush Lake and Quill Lake); Manitoba (Shell River, Aweme, and Pilot Mound); North Dakota (Bathgate and Argusville); and Wisconsin (Ceresco and Racine). East to Wisconsin (Racine) ; Illinois (formerly Chicago) ; Iowa (Newton and formerly Ferry); Kansas (Neosho Falls); Oklahoma (Camp Supply and Ivanhoe Lake); and Texas (Houston, Corpus Christi, and Brownsville). South to Texas (Brownsville, and Fort Davis); New Mexico (Fort Sumner, Santa Rosa, Los Pinos, and Fort Wingate); Arizona (Sulphur Springs); Utah (Fairfield, and Skull Valley); Nevada (probably Franklin Lake, Humboldt River, and Truckee Valley); and northern California (Pitt River, Butte Valley, and Eagleville). West to California (Eagleville) ; Oregon (Fort Kiamath, Camp Harney, Haines and Dalles); Washington (Kiona, Yakima, and Wapato Lake); and British Columbia (Okanagan, Vernon, and 150-mile houses).

Winter range: The winter range extends north to California (San Rafael and Sacramento Valley); southern Arizona (Pima County); rarely New Mexico (Demning, Santa Rosa, and Carlsbad); Texas (Pecos, San Angelo, Clay County, and Victoria); Louisiana (Vermilion Bay); and formerly South Carolina (Charleston). East to formerly South Carolina (Charleston and Frogmore); Georgia (Savannah, Sapelo Island, and Darien); and Florida (mouth of the St. Johns River, Tarpon Springs, and Fort Myers). South to Florida (Fort Myers); and rarely Guatemala (Duenas, and Chiapan). West to rarely Guatemala (Chiapan); Oaxaca (Juchitan); Jalisco (La Barca); Durango (Rancho Santriario); Lower California (San Jose del Cabo, La Paz, Magdalena Bay, and San Quintin); and California (San Diego, Owens Lake, San Joaquin Valley, San Francisco, and San Rafael). Spring Migration:

Early dates of spring arrival are: North Carolina, Corolla, April 15, Virginia, Chesapeake, April 15, and Locustvile, April 16; District of Columbia, Washington, April 11; New York, Montauk Point, April 28; Maine, Scarboro, May 2; Missouri, Warrensburg, April 1, St. Louis, April 2, and Appleton City, April 3; Illinois, Mount Carmel, April 4, Quincy, April 10, and Canton, April 15; Indiana, Liverpool, April 2; Iowa, Mitchell, April 3, Ferry, April 13, and Coralville, April 15; Minnesota. Hallock, Apiil 24; Oklahoma, Sentinel, April 5; Kansas, Emporia, April 9, and Manhattan, April 13; Nebraska, Valentine, March 28, Long Pine, March 29, Whitman, March 31, and Alda, April 3; South Dakota, Vermilion, April 5, and Rapid City, April 10; North Dakota, Argusville, April 8, Charlson, April 14, and Larimore, April 15; Manitoba, Aweme, April 9, Margaret, May 2, and Killarney, May 4; Saskatchewan, Eastend, April 16; Ravenscrag, April 28, Osler, May 7, and Indian Head, May 9; Colorado, Springfield, April 3, Colorado Springs, April 11, Denver, April 15, and Salida, April 29; Utah, Salt Lake County, March 28, and Camp Floyd, April 12; Wyoming, Sheridan, April 13, Cheyenne, April 15, and Jackson, April 18; Idaho, Grangeville, March 14, and Neeley, March 15; Montana, Great Falls, April 5, Terry, April 7, Corvallis, April 7, and Big Sandy, April 13; Alberta, Provost, April 22, Veteran, May 2, and Flagstaff, May 14; Oregon, Malheur Lake, March 28, Klamath Falls, March 28, Narrows, March 30, and Lawen, April 1; Washington, Prescott, March 23, and Chelan, April 6; and British Columbia, Okanagan Landing, March 29, and Osoyoos Lake, April 1.

Late dates of spring departure are: Florida, Palma Sola, May 11; North Carolina, Cape Hatteras, May 20, and Cape Lookout, May 24; Maryland, Hail Point, May 23; Missouri, Corning, May 25; Tepic, San Blas, April 28, and Los Penas Island, May 5; and Lower California, Turtle Bay, April 14, and mouth of the Colorado River, May 15.

Fall Migration: Early dates of fall arrival are: Lower California, San Quintin, July 4, and San Jose del Cabo, August 26; Sonora., Altar, September 14; New Hampshire, Rye Beach, August 12; Massachusetts, Amesbury, July 21, Plymouth, August 9, and Cape Cod, August 27; Rhode Island, Newport., July 15; New York, Orient Point, July 9, and Long Beach, July 24; Maryland, Ocean City, August 19; South Carolina, Frogmore, August 7, and Ladys Island, August 9; Florida, Tarpon Springs, July 5; and Alabama, Dauphin Island, August 21.

Late dates of fall departure are: British Columbia, Okanagan Landing, October 29; Washington, Grays Harbor, October 7; Oregon1 KIa math Lake, November 19; Montana, Big Sandy, August 25, and Choteau, September 4; Idaho, Neeley, October 1; Utah, Fillmore, November 19; Wyoming, Cheyenne, August 9, and Yellowstone Park, August 22; Colorado, Denver, September 12, Yuma, September 30, and Barr, October 22; Saskatchewan, Eastend, August 6, and Quill Lake, August 11; Manitoba, Westhourne Marsh, October 8 (Nash); South Dakota, Rapid City, August 3, and Hermosa, August 15; Nebraska, Whitman, August 25, Valentine, September 1, and Long Pine, September 6; Michigan, Washtenaw County, September 12, and Ann Arbor, September 15; Ohio, Cleveland, Septemher 15; Missouri, Jasper County, October 15; Quebec, Montreal, September 21; Massachusetts, Plum Island, September 2; Rhode Island, Jamestown, September 9; New York, Fishers Island, September 10, and Montauk Point, September 12; New Jersey, Cape May, September 14; and Virginia, Wallops Island, September 6, and Cobb Island, September 25.

Casual records: As previously stated, the long-billed curlew is now of casual or accidental occurrence east of the Mississippi River, although it was formerly fairly, plentiful on the Atlantic coast. Macoun reports it as a rare emigrant in Newfoundland without particulars, and in the lack of subsequent confirmation it seems probable that he was misinformed. Preble (1908) records a specimen that was taken several years previous in the vicinity of Fort Simpson, Mackenzie. Several occurrences have been recorded for Alaska, among which are: Bethel, five seen May 9, 1917, by J. J. Brown (authority of A. H. Twitchell) ; a specimen. without date or exact locality, recorded by Macoun; St. Michael, June 19, 1874 (Turner); and upper Kuskokwim, July 23, 1898 (Hinckley). A specimen also is reported as having been taken near Spanishtown~ Jamaica, in July, 1863.

Other West Indian records for this species are considered indefinite and probably refer to N. hud&~nicus.

Egg dates: Utah: 41 records, April 1 to May 22; 21 records, April 26 to May 9. Montana and Idaho: 24 records, April 20 to July 4; 12 records, May 16 to 29. Saskatchewan: 11 records, May 3 to July 4; 6 records, May 23 to June 10. Washington and Oregon: 7 records, May 4 to 20.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of Birdzilla.com. He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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