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Books about the Curlew

The books are listed in order of publication date with the most recent at the top.

Other wader pages

Wider ranging books about waders are listed on:

Books about waders


Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Numenius

In the UK

Eurasian Curlew
Numenius arquata

Numenius phaeopus

Other curlew species

Long-billed Curlew
Numenius americanus

Far Eastern Curlew
Numenius madagascariensis

Little Curlew
Numenius minutus

Bristle-thighed Curlew
Numenius tahitiensis

The status of two further species is uncertain. They are possibly now extinct:

Slender-billed Curlew
Numenius tenuirostris

Eskimo Curlew
Numenius borealis


Orison for a Curlew: In Search of a Bird on the Edge of Extinction

Horatio Clare

Illustrations: Beatrice Forshall

Little Toller Books


"The Slender-billed curlew now exists as rumour, hope, unconfirmed sightings and speculation. The only certainty of its story is that it now stands at the brink of extinction. Birds are key environmental indicators - their health or hardship has a message for us about the planet, and our future. But we do not know what the fate of the Slender-billed curlew means for us, or what happened to it, or why. Orison for a Curlew is the story of a journey into that mystery. Following the bird's migratory path takes the award-winning writer Horatio Clare on an odyssey through a fractured Europe, to the edges of the land, and into the lives of the men and women who have fought to save and preserve the worlds to which the bird belonged. We travel with soldiers, beggars, students and green superheroes, including the father of ornithology in Greece, an extinction myth-buster in Romania, a Hungarian who invented the Danube delta biosphere reserve, and a birdwatcher who drew the preservation map of Bulgaria."

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Searching for Slender-billed Curlews in Iran, January-February 2000

T.M. Van der Have, G.O. Keijl, J. Mansoori & V.V. Morozov

WIWO Report 72

Working Group International Waterbird and Wetland Research


"Between 13 January and 3 February 2000 about 20 wetlands were visited to count waterbirds and pay special attention to the presence of Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris, a globally threatened species. At least, 1,200 Eurasian Curles N. arquata and 250 Whimbrels N. phaeopus were checked individually, as well as several hundreds of Bartailed Godwits Limosa lapponica and Black-tailed Todwits L. limosa, but no Slender-billed Curlews were observerd."

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Biodiversity in Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Species Action Plans: Irish Hare, Chough, Curlew

Environment & Heritage Service

Stationery Office Books


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Breeding Phenology of Curlew: Analysis of Nest Record Cards from the British Trust for Ornithology Nest Record Scheme

G.E. Austin and H.Q.P Crick

The British Trust for Ornithology


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Conservation of the Slender-billed Curlew

Adam Gretton

International Council For Bird Preservation, Monograph No. 6

BirdLife International


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The Curlew

Gerry Cotter

Shire Natural History 55


"The curlew is the largest of the Paleartic waders, its long down-curving bill making it instantly recognisable. There are few other birds which can match the beauty of its calls. This book first describes how the curlew's habitat range has expanded considerably in the twentieth century to include many lowland breeding areas, and then examines its lifestyle. The various calls are set out, after which the breeding cycle is discussed in detail from the initial courtship through to the raising of the young. The book then deals with the bird's inland and coastal feeding habits, its patterns of migration and its enemies, inevitably including mankind."

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Eskimo Curlew: A Vanishing Species?

J.B. Gollop, T.W. Barry and E.H. Iversen

Saskatchewan Natural History Society


From the introduction: "This book is an attempt to compile the Eskimo Curlew's history and what is known about its biology largely in the words of people who were its contemporaries. It brings together the observations and comments of more than 300 people who saw or talked with people who saw Eskimo Curlews. Most of these contacts between people and curlews occurred during the last half of the 19th century as "civilization" expanded in the New World and curlews went from great abundance to great scarcity. How various factors contributed to this decline cannot be documented, but it is possible that curlews were killed by man every day of the year through the 1870s a period of unregulated hunting and seemingly unlimited bird populations. As a result, this publication relies to a great extent on hunting experiences because more appears in print about them than about other aspects of the curlew's history."

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Ecology and Behavior of the Long-billed Curlew in Southeastern Washington

Julia N. Allen

Monograph No 73

Wildlife Society


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Last updated September 2013