This is the largest wader in its range, at 50-60 cm (20-24 in) in length, with a 89-106 cm (35-42 in) wingspan and a body weight of 410-1,360 g. It is mainly greyish brown, with a white back, and a very long curved bill. Males and females look identical, but the bill is longest in the adult female. It is generally not possible to recognize the sex of a single Eurasian Curlew, or even several ones as there is much variation. Telling male and female of a mated pair apart is usually possible however.

Habitat and Distribution

It is one of the most widespread of the curlews, breeding across temperate Europe and Asia. The Curlew exists as a migratory species over most of its range, wintering in Africa, southern Europe and south Asia. Occasionally a vagrant individual reaches places far from its normal range, such as Nova Scotia and the Marianas. It is present all year in the milder climates of the United Kingdom and its adjacent European coasts.


The Eurasian Curlew feeds by probing soft mud for small invertebrates, but will also pick small crabs and earthworms off the surface if the opportunity arises.


The nest is a bare scrape on taiga, meadow, and similar habitats. Each Curlew lays between 3 and 6 eggs in April or May and incubates them for about a month until they begin to hatch.

Calls and Songs

The familiar call, from which this bird gets it name, is a loud curloo-oo.