Eurasian Whimbrel

Scientific Name: Numenius phaeopus

Malay Name: Kendi Gajah Erasia

Chinese Name: 中杓鹬

Range: Breeding in the sub-Arctic region of Asia and Europe.  Winters in Africa, south Asia and into Australasia.

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: islandicus, phaeopus, alboaxillaris, rogachevae, variegatus.

Local Subspecies: phaeopus (Common migrant)

Size: 40-46 cm

Identification: A fairly large greyish-brown bird with with a long, decurved bill witrh a kink. Prominent black lateral crown stripe and eyestripe. Broad whitish supercillium and buffish-white neck and breast with dark streaks. Legs and feet dull grey. Although large, it is considered mid-sized compared to other curlews. Compared to the larger curlews, it has a shorter bill.

Similar looking species: Little Curlew, Eurasian Curlew, Far Eastern Curlew

Habitat: Winters mainly along the coastline, coastal wetlands, mangroves, marshes and larger rivers.

Behaviour/Ecology: A gregarious species that feed mainly on invertebrates by probing, and picking up occasional small crabs and similar prey.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Mandai Mudflats, Chek Jawa at Pulau Ubin and any other mudflats.

Featured articles:

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):


BirdLife International. (2016). Numenius phaeopus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.