Numenius Americanus – Long-Billed Curlew

Numenius Americanus - Long-Billed Curlew found in the US

The long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus) is a big shorebird in the Scolopacidae family found in North America. Additionally, this species was known as the “sicklebird” and the “candlestick bird.” The species breeds throughout central and western North America and winters in the south and along the coast.

Quick Overview: Numenius Americanus – Long-Billed Curlew
Body size: Around 23 in (58 cm) and a weight of 544 g (19.2 oz)
Main colors: Brown, Pink, Orange-brown
Range: Western United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Long-billed Curlew Description

Long-billed curlews are huge, long-legged shorebirds with exceptionally long, decurved bills. The body plumage is a rich buff tinted with cinnamon or pink, with dark brown streaks and bars on the upperparts; the underwing lining is contrasting cinnamon, and the upper surface of the remiges is contrasting orange-brown.

Numenius Americanus - Long-Billed Curlew found in the US
Numenius Americanus – Long-Billed Curlew. Photo by: Mike’s Birds


These birds have a length of 23 in (58 cm) and a weight of 544 g (19.2 oz). Their wings could range from 36-40 in (91-102 cm).]


When they are found inland, long-billed curlews feed primarily on insects and worms. In coastal locations, they use their long bills to explore the mud for mussels, crabs, and fish. Additionally, they will consume other nesting birds.


Curlews with long bills breed on plains, meadows, and prairies. It nests on lake and river shores, marshes, mudflats, and sandy beaches during the winter.


Curlews with long bills are predominantly diurnal, spending the majority of their time foraging. They use a combination of flight and brief glides to travel between foraging locations. Individuals that are not breeding are usually solitary, however, they frequently form mixed-sex groups during migratory flights and winter roosts. Typically, long-billed curlews remain inside their declared territory, which they defend against intruders and predators.

Numenius Americanus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Scolopacidae
  • Genus: Numenius
  • Species: Numenius americanus

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the Long-billed Curlew in the USA

From southern Canada to northern California, Utah, northern New Mexico, and Texas, this species breeds. Winters in the southern states of California, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida.

The Long-billed Curlew can be found in the following states in the United States – Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

Numenius Americanus – Long-Billed Curlew

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