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):

Eurasian Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Estimated average number of individuals by week based on eBird data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023
Peak week Jan 08-Jan 14
Early date 04 Jul 2020
Late date 28 Jun 2020
One of Singapore's commonest shorebirds, with high numbers arriving in the fall and continuing through the winter months.


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.

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