What's the difference between
a curlew and a whimbrel?

What's the difference between whimbrels
and curlews?


  • These two wading birds are easy to confuse being very similar in appearance. Differences are more pronounced in the females.

  • The curlew is the largest European wading bird and is noticeably larger than the whimbrel when it is possible to compare the two.

  • The whimbrel has a more pronounced eye stripe than the curlew.

  • The whimbrel also has stripes on its head which the curlew lacks.

  • The curlew has a longer beak with a more gentle downward curve.