Curlew (Far Eastern) Numenius madagascariensis
Species: N. madagascariensis
Binomial name: Numenius madagascariensis
Common names: Eastern curlew, Far Eastern curlew
Far Eastern curlew is a rare summer visitor to New Zealand in late September. Only a very small numbers arrive here probably no more than 10 a year. This migrant wader is occasionally seen in harbours and estuaries from Parengarenga in the Far North to Awarua Bay in Southland.
It is a large shorebird mostly brown in colour, with a plain, unpatterned brown underwing. It is 60–66 cm in length and 110 cm across the wings. It has thin white eye-rings, and whitish throat.
It has a heavily decurved bill that is extremely long (12.8–20 cm). It uses this long bill to probe for marine worms, crustaceans and molluscs deep in the mud. Mud crabs are a common source of food.
The Far Eastern curlew spends its breeding season in northeastern Asia, including Siberia to Kamchatka, and Mongolia. Its breeding habitat is composed of marshy and swampy wetlands and lakeshores. Most individuals winter in coastal Australia, with a few heading to South Korea, Thailand, Philippines and New Zealand, where they stay at estuaries, beaches, and salt marshes.
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