Long-billed Curlew (numenius Americanus): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: Long-billed curlews vary between 19.7 and 25.6 inches (50 to 65 centimeters) in length and weigh from 15.5 to 33.5 ounces (445 to 951 grams). The tip of the bill is shaped like a water droplet. The back is speckled black and the belly is cinnamon-colored. Females are larger than males and have longer bills.
Geographic range: Long-billed curlews are found in portions of North America and Central America.
Habitat: Long-billed curlews occupy grassland areas during the breeding season and wetlands such as marshes and estuaries (EST-yoo-air-eez), where saltwater and freshwater mix, during the nonbreeding season. Long-billed curlews are sometimes found on farmland as well.
Diet: Long-billed curlews eat primarily insects, but also eat some crustaceans, mollusks, worms, frogs, and berries.
Behavior and reproduction: Long-billed curlews are monogamous, with a single male breeding with a single female. Pairs are territorial, defending their nesting area from other pairs. Females lay three to five eggs at a time, generally in short grass. Eggs hatch after twenty-seven or twenty-eight days.
Long-billed curlews and people: Long-billed curlews were once hunted in large numbers by humans, but are now protected by law.
Conservation status: Long-billed curlews are not considered threatened at this time. However, populations have declined in number due to loss of grassland habitat. ∎
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