The Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) is a medium-sized wading bird with a distinctive long, curved bill, measuring up to 3.5 inches in length. This species has a wingspan of 2.5-3 feet and a body length of 16-20 inches. The bird’s weight ranges from 12-18 ounces, with males typically being larger than females.
One of the most distinguishing features of the Whimbrel is its long, downcurved bill that is dark at the tip and pale at the base. The bird’s head and neck are streaked brown, while its upperparts are a mottled brown and buff. The underparts are pale with dense, dark streaks. During the breeding season, the bird has a distinct white eye ring that becomes less visible during the non-breeding season.
The Whimbrel is a migratory bird, and it has one of the longest migration routes of any bird species. These birds breed in the Arctic tundra and migrate southwards to spend the non-breeding season in coastal areas in the southern hemisphere. Some individuals may travel up to 8,000 miles each way during their annual migration.
In North America, the Whimbrel is commonly seen during migration along both coasts, but the species is rarely seen inland. During migration, they may be found on mudflats, beaches, and estuaries, where they use their long bills to probe for insects, crustaceans, and mollusks.
The Whimbrel is a social bird that typically forms flocks during migration and during the non-breeding season. During the breeding season, the birds form monogamous pairs and defend their territory against other Whimbrels. These birds have a unique vocalization that consists of a series of whistling calls that may be used to communicate with other members of the flock or to defend their territory.