Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus

Whimbrels have very long downturned bills and look similar to Long-billed Curlews. They are mottled brown above with lighter mottling below.

  • Numenius phaeopus
  • Length: 16.9-18.1 in (43-46 cm)
  • Weight: 10.9-14.3 oz (310-404 g)
  • Wingspan: 31.5-32.7 in (80-83 cm)


Whimbrels breed in the arctic and migrate to the coast of the US and Central America for winter.

Habitat and Diet

You can find Whimbrels on mudflats and wet sand where they use their long bills to poke in looking for crabs in winter.

In Spring and summer, they breed on the arctic tundra and feed on berries and insects.

Whimbrel calls:


Nests of Whimbrel are small depressions pressed into hummocks and lined with grass and lichen. They lay 2-4 eggs which take 2 to 3 weeks to hatch.

Fun Fact:

During the breeding season males perform dramatic displays of flight and song. He flies high up and slowly glides down in circles while singing.