One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small migratory curlew of northern Eurasia and northern Canada, with a striped crown and a trilling call.
Numenius phaeopus, family Scolopacidae
- ‘When I came in April, the whimbrel, a summer migrant, had arrived to join the resident curlews, redshanks and oystercatchers.’
- ‘There were 29 Hudsonian godwits, several whimbrels, 2 dunlins, greater shearwaters and black tern.’
- ‘This probably explains the names of the chough, crake, hoopoe, kittiwake, pipit, shrike, twite and whimbrel.’
- ‘Assistant site manager at the English Nature reserve Craig Ralston said: ‘Although whimbrels seem to be increasing in numbers over recent years, they are still very uncommon birds.’’
- ‘Spotted redshank share their forest-marsh nesting grounds with wood sandpipers, greenshank, whimbrel, jack snipe and broad-billed sandpipers.’
- ‘Other prominent shorebirds are the whimbrels and godwits.’
Mid 16th century: from whimper or synonymous dialect whimp (imitative of the bird's call) + -rel.
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