Bird Families

Far Eastern Curlew / Numenius madagascariensis


Photo: Antonov A.I.

Bird of the open landscape. It is found widely in the Amur region, in various wetlands, meadows and pastures. In spring, dozens of birds are recorded at the lowland protected stations, but only single pairs start nesting and successfully reproduce.

The largest, long-legged and long-billed sandpiper in our region. The length of the bird reaches 66 cm, and its weight is 1.5 kg with a wingspan of more than a meter. Especially characteristic is a very long, bent down beak, which makes up about a third of the entire body length. The color of the curlew is patronizing, brown-brown without color contrasts. Females and males are colored identically, but females are larger in size, and also have a longer beak, which is clearly visible only when a pair of curlews keeps close. It reliably differs from the curlew Numenius arquata, the closest species, by the absence of a white uppertail and a more variegated, not white, underside of the wing. Young birds, reaching the size of adult birds by the middle of summer, differ from them by a two times shorter beak.

Spring arrival in the reserve is usually observed at the end of the first decade of April. Immediately after arrival, in the habitats of curlews, the pleasant voices of lecturing males, demonstrating their territories, are heard far away. Usually 2-3 pairs nest within the limits of sound and visual communication. The nesting season lasts under our conditions from the end of the first decade of May to the end of the first decade of June. The nest has a sparse lining of dry grass and is nestled openly among a grass meadow or in a moss swamp. In a full clutch, as a rule, there are 4 eggs of a greenish or brownish-olive color with darker irregularly shaped spots. Egg sizes (mm): 66.2-74.5 x 42.2-49.6. Both members of the couple incubate for about a month. Only one clutch is made per season; if it is lost at the earliest stages of incubation, a repeated compensatory clutch is possible, which is often less than the first.

After hatching, young downy coats quickly dry up and leave the nest on the first day or the next, following their parents. One of the parents (usually a female), a few days after hatching, leaves the brood in the care of the male and migrates towards the wintering grounds. The second parent also does not wait for the juveniles to rise to the wing and flies to the south earlier than them, while the maturing underyearlings stay within the Amur region until the end of July - early August, but rarely catch sight.

The curlew's diet is varied and belongs to the so-called opportunistic type, i.e., it consumes the most affordable and massive feed. Terrestrial and aquatic arthropods, molluscs, amphibians, small fish, as well as berries and plant seeds are eaten in large quantities.

The Far Eastern curlew is a very distant intercontinental migrant; it spends the winter on the coasts of Australia and the islands of Oceania, annually covering a distance of many thousands of kilometers from nesting sites. It is curious that two-three-year-old birds (i.e., immature ones) are in no hurry to return to their northern homeland in the first years of life, but roam widely in their non-nesting habitat, gradually training their migration skills.


The distribution is sporadic. The nesting area consists of isolated populations in the central and southern regions of the East. Siberia and the Far East. Nests at the top of the bass. R. Lower Tunguska, in Yakutia - in Verkhoyansk, on the right bank of the river. Lena near the mouth of the river. Dyanyshka and on the river. Lungha and in the basin of the river. Vilyui. In the river basin Vitim in the Charskaya depression (Stanovoe Upland) and the Muya depression and, probably, in the southern Transbaikalia.

The nesting area includes the Kamchatka Peninsula and the south of the Koryak Upland [7,8]. In the Amur region, nests on the Zeisko-Bureinskaya plain, in particular, in the valley of the river. Ulma left tributary of the river. Selemdzha, in the lower reaches of the river. Bureya, near the lake. Evoron. In Primorye - in the area of ​​the hall.

Posiet and on the Khanka lowland [12,13], in the lower reaches of the river. Bolshaya Ussurka (Iman), Bikin and Khor. During the migration period, it was recorded in the Bratsk reservoir, in the south of Lake Baikal, on the Sakhalin, Shantar and Kuril islands. Zalety - on about. Bering, in the valley of the river. Anadyr, to the Chukchi Peninsula, to Mongolia, to Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and to other areas [1,16].


Inhabits grassy and moss-herbaceous bogs, less often meadows and pastures. In the area of ​​the hall. Posiet nests in grassy bogs, in the Khanka lowland, in reed-reed bogs and floodplains, in the lower reaches of the river. Bolshaya Ussurka (Iman), Bikin and Khor, on the coast of the lake. Evoron on moss-herbaceous and mossy bogs in sparse larch forests ("marya"), on grassy bogs alternating with glades, in the valley of the river. Ulm and in the lower reaches of the river. Storms in damp meadows and moss-herbaceous bogs [9,10], in Yakutia and the Charskaya depression on the “maria” and hummocky-birch bogs, in the Muiskaya depression in bogs in the river floodplains [4, 5], in Kamchatka in the coastal regions on vast swampy areas of the tundra with hummocks and moss-herbaceous bogs, in the south of the Koryak Upland in bogs in the lower reaches of rivers.

At present, the habitats of the species are undergoing changes as a result of agricultural development of territories and industrial construction. Monogs. Sexual maturity at the age of 2 years. The Far Eastern curlew settles in small colonies. The nest is placed in a depression among the grass, sometimes on a hummock. There are 4 eggs in a clutch. The incubation period is 1 month.

During the summer, near nesting sites and along the flight paths, flocks of single, probably immature birds are found. The main food is insects, molluscs, small crustaceans, juicy fruits (shiksha, blueberries, lingonberries, cranberries, etc.), which birds feed on during the summer-autumn movement on the "maria" and coastal plains. The main enemies are the fox, raccoon dog, and crows. Wintering in the Philippine Islands, Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania.


On the lake. Hanka counted 50 pairs. In the lower reaches of the river. Bolshaya Ussurka (Iman) in 1938 15 breeding pairs were found. In the southeast of Kamchatka 0.3-0.7 pairs / km 2 (1973-1983), in the central part of the west. on the coast - 2-4 pairs / km 2 (1981), in the Charskaya depression the density is 0.2-0.5 individuals / km 2, in the Muya depression - up to 15 individuals / km 2. During the period of seasonal migrations to South Primorye, up to 100-200 or more birds were counted in flocks.

Significant accumulations of the Far Eastern curlew were noted on the berry fields during summer-autumn migrations. The number on the East Asian-Australian flyway is estimated at 21 thousand individuals, of which 19 thousand birds winter in Australia. The main limiting factors are excessive hunting during spring and autumn migrations on the territory of Russia and production outside its borders along the migration routes and wintering grounds.

The factor of disturbance in the nesting period from fishermen, tourists, reindeer herders, participants of various expeditions increases, cases of poaching are noted. Habitats are degraded as a result of drainage of bogs, plowing of wastelands and meadows, deforestation of larch forests, spring-summer burning of dry grass in meadows and swamps, forest fires, and industrial construction.


The Far Eastern curlew is included in the IUCN-96 Red List, Appendix 2 of the Bonn Convention, Appendices of bilateral agreements concluded by Russia with the USA, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the DPRK on the protection of migratory birds. Protected in the Khanka, Khingansky and Kronotsky nature reserves, the Kamchatka (Moroshechnaya River) and Amur regions. (Ulminsky).

Sources: 1. Ivanov, 1976, 2. Nakhodkin, Isaev, 1991, 3. Pozdnyakov, 1987, 4. Andreev, 1987, 5. Tolchin, 1980, 6. Stepanyan, 1990, 7. Kishchinsky, 1980, 8. Lobkov, 1986, 9. Leonovich, Nikolaevsky, 1976, 10. Winter, 1980, 11. Nechaev, 1974, 12. Shulpin, 1936, 13. Glushchenko, 1982, 14. Spangenberg, 1965, 15. Shibnev, 1973, 16. Hayman et al. , 1989, 17. Watkins, 1993.