Long-Billed Curlew

This gallery contains 2 photos. This Long-Billed Curlew was doing the one-legged tree pose for so long that we thought we were looking at an amputee! She (females have longer and much more decurved bills than the males,and are bigger, too) was hanging out with four Marbled Godwits (both new bird species for my life list), quite a few American (and Eurasian) Wigeons, Ring-Billed Gulls, and thousands of Dunlins. Photographed at Surrey’s Blackie Spit/Crescent Beach on December 11, 2015.

Long-Billed CurlewNorth America’s largest shorebird has one of the longest bills, too (up to 6.5 inches!)
f/6.3, 1/1000, 500mm, ISO 250

If the Long-Billed Curlew looks like a kissing cousin of the Whimbrel (albeit with a longer and even more decurved bill), it’s no coincidence, especially since both belong to the family of wading birds known as Curlews. That curved bill is extremely useful for rooting around in the winter mudflats for tasty invertebrates like crab and shrimp.

Long-Billed Curlewwith that bill, you’d think the tongue would be commensurately long.
f/7.1, 1/1000, 500mm, ISO 320

Long-Billed Curlews are uncommon (but not rare) visitors to the Metro Vancouver area. Only a handful of sightings have been reported on eBird, and always in singles. Although I chose not to get as close to the Long-Billed Curlew and the Marbled Godwits as I did with the Whimbrel, the former were quite comfortable with the humans in their midst, and went about their business as if I were not there.

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