The whimbrel is like a smaller version of the curlew which breeds on moorlands and uplands and can be seen on coastal habitats as it passes through on migration. On its breeding grounds, it feeds on ground insects, snails and slugs, swapping these tasty morsels for crustaceans, shrimps and molluscs when migrating.
How to identify
The whimbrel is streaky, greyish-brown with long, blue-grey legs and a long, down-curved, grey bill. It can be distinguished from the larger curlew by its shorter bill and strong face pattern with a dark crown, a pale stripe down the middle and dark eye-stripe. The call is a series of about seven whistles. When they fly whimbrel show a white wedge on the back and tail.
Where to find it
Nests on moorland in Shetland, Orkney and the far north of Scotland. Fairly common on migration on wetlands and wet grassland throughout the country.
When to find it
How can people help
Breeding populations of whimbrel have declined in recent years but may now be on the increase. Local Wildlife Trusts across the country are looking after wetland and coastal habitats for the benefit of wading birds like whimbrel. Ensuring breeding birds are not disturbed and farmers use wildlife-friendly farming practices are just some of the ways we're helping. And you can help too: volunteer for The Wildlife Trusts and you could be involved in everything from monitoring populations to managing upland habitats.