Species Champions: Curlew

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The ‘Curlews’ are a group of large wading birds found across the globe. It is the ‘Eurasian Curlew’ that appears in the UK, and their breeding range stretches from the UK across Northern Europe. They can be highly migratory, and we receive a large influx of birds from Scandinavia. However, our breeding curlews mostly winter around the British coast, or head over to Ireland.

The name curlew originates from its distinctive call that sounds much like a ‘ curloo-oo’. The UK is the third most important country in the world for breeding curlew population.  However, the curlew is in trouble – it is classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN due to worrying declines, and was recently uplisted to red on the Birds of Conservation Concern list.

Action Needed

  1. Support farmers whose farming practices provide habitats for curlews and other waders.
  2. Ensure new forestry is appropriately sited so it doesn’t fragment important open landscapes that support curlews.
  3. Restore fragmented open landscapes through the removal of forestry.

Threats

Intensification of grassland management, increasing densities of predators and farmland abandonment in marginal areas

Afforestation of open landscapes

The curlew’s wintering habits at the coast are threatened by inappropriate developments, pollution and human disturbance

MSP Species Champion

Lewis Macdonald

Member for: North East Scotland

Party: Scottish Labour Party

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