One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large wading bird of the sandpiper family, with a long downcurved bill, brown streaked plumage, and frequently a distinctive ascending two-note call.
Genus Numenius, family Scolopacidae: several species, in particular N. arquata of EurasiaSee also stone curlew
- ‘When I came in April, the whimbrel, a summer migrant, had arrived to join the resident curlews, redshanks and oystercatchers.’
- ‘Other migratory birds observed in the shallow waters were bar headed geese, open bill storks, northern pintails, gadwalls, curlews, black tailed godwits, spoonbills, green shanks, red shanks and so on.’
- ‘The large numbers of birds in the area, including nationally important numbers of golden plover, curlew, dunlin, merlin and twite, make it a Site of Special Scientific Interest.’
- ‘It is the home of the lapwing, curlew, golden plover, dunlin and red grouse.’
- ‘This quirk of avian physiology turned out to be the key to explaining some odd behavior of the eastern curlew, a shorebird that vacations in Australia before taking off to breed in Siberia.’
- ‘The moorland blaze has come at a bad time for ground-nesting birds such as golden plovers, curlews, lapwings and merlins, a rare bird of prey.’
- ‘At first glance the drained muds of the Blyth estuary were dotted with shelduck, redshank, curlew, wigeon, pintail and black headed gulls.’
- ‘Rare bird species, including wading birds such as the curlew, lapwing and snipe, would also be reintroduced to the site under the plans.’
- ‘It is similar in size, shape, and color to the Marbled Godwit, but the curlew's decurved bill distinguishes it from the upturned bill of the Marbled Godwit.’
- ‘Other wildlife to be seen at the reserve includes a number of notable bird species such as golden plover, curlew and greenshank.’
- ‘In the mud flats of the Bay of Fundy, you'll see large roosts of shorebirds - plovers, yellowlegs, godwits, curlews, and phalaropes - at high tide.’
- ‘The waders, curlews, plovers and lapwing were there long before the hedgehogs were introduced.’
- ‘A giant among waders, the curlew is unmistakable with long bill and legs.’
- ‘He insists this perception is wrong and that the main threat to curlews and plovers comes not from buzzards but habitat loss.’
- ‘Conservationists are now hoping for fine weather this year to give the tiny chicks of birds such as lapwing, curlew, redshank and snipe a chance of survival.’
- ‘The Peak District provides some of the last remaining habitats for golden plover, lapwing, curlew and twite.’
- ‘So why cannot hen harriers, sparrowhawks and goshawks be controlled to protect lapwings, curlews, golden plovers and, yes, pheasants and grouse?’
- ‘The shocking results from the county are that no breeding pairs of curlew, lapwing, redshank, snipe or oystercatcher were recorded on the sites surveyed.’
- ‘He has 120 breeding pairs of waders on his land, including lapwings, curlews and redshanks.’
- ‘‘We call this lazy birding,’ says Clarke, pointing out the thousands of brown and white pelicans, the curlews, godwits, and avocets around us.’
Middle English: from Old French courlieu, alteration (by association with courliu ‘courier’, from courre ‘run’ + lieu ‘place’) of imitative courlis.
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