BIRDS OF ICELAND : Numenius phaeopus, whimbrel

Numenius phaeopusWhimbrels are common large waders. Like the curlews they have long, downward bent beaks. Very characteristic are the brown and white bands running over their head. They are found in all kind of wet areas like bogs, wet heather regions etc. where they feed on insects, worms and other non-vertebrae. The wetlands are also their breeding grounds. The whimbrel is a very northern breeding species. Scotland hosts the most southern breeding populations. Elsewhere they breed on the tundra's from northern America to Siberia. However, in autumn they migrate to the coasts of the Iberian peninsula, north-western Africa and the Arabian gulf region. A slightly less-northern relative, the Curlew (Numenius arquata) is not very common (mainly winter guests from northern Europe), but a few do breed in north-eastern Iceland. It shows what a strange land Iceland is: a northern species is a common breeder whilst a more southern relative is a winter guest!

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A brief introduction to Iceland birds
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk
- unless stated otherwise

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Show other photo's of the Whimbrel:
 Whimbrel eggs in a nest.
 Another photo of the Whimbrel.
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 "Eggs in a nest.
 Another Whimbrel.
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