|Scientific name:||Numenius arquata|
Winter visitor to wetlands throughout Ireland, as well as breeding in small numbers in floodplains and boglands. Numbers and range have declined substantially in recent decades. It is likely that increased afforestation and agricultural improvement are responsible for these declines.
The largest wader - very distinctive with long legs, bulky body, long neck and long decurved bill. Fairly uniform greyish brown, with bold dark streaking all over. Only likely confusion species is the smaller Whimbrel, which occurs in spring and autumn.
Unmistakable ascending "cur..lee, cur..lee" whistle, or sometimes "cew, cew, cew". Song in breeding season a long, rapid bubbling repetition of a single note.
They feed mostly on invertebrates, particularly ragworms, crabs and molluscs. They are usually well dispersed across the estuary while feeding, but roost communally, usually along salt marshes and sand banks.
Nests on the ground in rough pastures, meadows and heather. Not a common breeder, but found in most parts of the country.
Winters in a wide range of wetland habitats (coastal and inland) and other good feeding areas including damp fields. The Irish breeding population is supplemented by Scottish and Scandinavian breeders in winter.
Internationally important resident population, has undergone serious decline. Breeds in a mosaic of upland habitats.
Numbers bolstered in Winter due to influx from Europe. Shannon & Fergus Estuary in County Clare, Cork Harbour in County Cork, Lough Foyle in County Londonderry, Lough Swilly in County Donegal, Strangford Lough in County Down and the Wexford Harbour & Slobs in County Wexford support between 1,500 and 2,500 birds.
Blog posts about this bird
Radical changes for agriculture and biodiversity proposed
- Increase nature protected areas on land and at sea by 30%. A third of these areas will be strictly protected – meaning no human activity can take place.
- Reduce pesticide use by 50%, both in terms of quantity and toxicity.
- Reduce fertilizer use by 20% on farmland
- Restore 10% of farmland with biodiversity elements such as hedgerows and flower strips to improve the sustainability of farming.
- At least 25% of agricultural land is under organic farming management, and the uptake of agro-ecological practices is significantly increased.
- Introduce binding EU nature restoration targets to restore crucial large-scale ecosystems such as peatlands, wetlands, forests and marine ecosystems, all of which are vital for mitigation and adaptation in the face of biodiversity loss and climate change