Long-billed Curlew

Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus)

Long-billed Curlews are the largest shorebirds in North America. They’re easily recognizable for their extremely long, thin, and downcurved bills.

Long-Billed Curlews have small heads, long necks, and brown streaked football-shaped bodies with a cinnamon wash on the flanks and belly. 

Female Long-billed Curlews are much larger than males and have longer bills.

  • Numenius Americanus
  • Length: 19.7 – 25. 6 in (50 – 65 cm)
  • Weight: 17.3 – 33.5 oz (490 – 950 g)
  • Wingspan: 24.4 – 35.0 in (62 – 89 cm)


Long-billed Curlews breed in western US states and southwestern Canada before migrating to Mexico.

Habitat and Diet

You can find Long-billed Curlews in wetlands, tidal estuaries, mudflats, and beaches. During the breeding season, they stay in dry grasslands and sagebrush prairie with damp low spots that serve as feeding areas for their young. 

With their long, downward-curved bills they are able to forage for earthworms, mollusks, and crayfish. On grasslands, they eat beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars, plus spiders, toads, and the eggs of other birds. 

Long-billed Curlew call:


Nests of Long-billed Curlews are initially made by courting males. They scrape several hollows in the ground on open prairies. The female adds pebbles, bark, grass, stems, and twigs to the nest. 

After the nest is built, the female will lay four eggs. Both males and females incubate the eggs for about four weeks. Once the eggs hatch, the young are able to leave the nest to feed within hours. The female leaves the brood to the male after a couple of weeks.

Fun Fact:

Long-billed Curlews are also called “sicklebird” and “candlestick bird”.