Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

The whimbrel is a close relative of the Eskimo curlew, an Arctic shorebird bird that was hunted to near-extinction. The more aggressive whimbrel has since expanded its range to include many of the curlew’s former breeding grounds.


Whimbrels were once quite common throughout most of their range, but populations declined in the latter half of the 19th century, probably due to environmental factors. Now they are found in limited areas along the southwest coast of Hudson Bay and the far western Arctic coast to Alaska. They winter from the southern United States to Chile, and are common in the Canadian Maritime provinces during their southward migrations in the autumn.

For a complete species account, visit the Arctic section.