Breeding Curlew Survey
The Curlew (Numenius arquata) is one of the most iconic birds of the rural Irish landscape. Its charismatic call (listen via links on the right), large greyish-brown body and long, down-curved bill make the Curlew an easily identifiable bird. Unfortunately, breeding Curlew populations in Ireland have declined by over 90% in the past 40 years, mostly as a result of habitat loss, changes in land use and a host of other factors. As a result of this decline, Curlew are currently Red-listed in Ireland and represent one of countries highest conservation priorities.
It is worth noting that while large numbers of Curlew are present during the Irish winter, the majority of these birds do not breed in Ireland. These winter visitors come from the UK, Scandinavia and continental Europe to take advantage of our mild winter weather and return to their overseas breeding grounds come spring.
BirdWatch Ireland is appealing for sightings of breeding Curlew, to help determine the number of breeding pairs in Ireland and identify important breeding sites.
Curlew nest in damp, rushy pastures and on open moorland. Using their long, down-curved bills they probe for food in soft, wet areas along ditches or shallow pools where their chicks can easily find insects to eat. When disturbed near a nest site, Curlew will remain in the area and fly (typically in circles) above the 'intruder' while giving loud alarm calls.
Whether you see Curlew in suitable nesting habitat or observe obvious signs of breeding, we would like to hear from you.
Report your 2018 Curlew sightings to via our online survey, www.surveymonkey.com/r/CKZYTDM