Curlews are the largest wading bird in Europe. They have mottled pale-brown to cream feathers and have long legs. Their most distinctive feature is their long down-turned bill which they use to probe in the ground for food such as worms and insects. They are often noticed first by the distinctive “bubbling” call they make during territorial displays.
Curlews are only found in the Peak District during the summer when they arrive from coastal areas to breed in moorland and open pasture.
Curlews are an amber listed species due to recent declines in population sizes.
Why we’re interested
Curlew favour cooler uplands for breeding and so, as for red grouse, they are predicted to decline as temperatures increase. They may be particularly vulnerable to drying soils which could reduce the abundance of soil invertebrates they rely on for food.
There is also evidence that warmer springs have led to curlew arriving in the uplands earlier in the spring from their coastal wintering grounds.
The data collected in this survey will give an indication as to whether curlew are becoming less common in the Peak District and if their distribution in this area is changing. It will also allow us to monitor their arrival time in their breeding grounds in the Peak District and look at whether this is changing over time.
Illustration (c) Mike Langman