The Eastern Curlew is the largest migratory wader to visit Australia and is listed as Critically Endangered under the EPBC Act
Its size, long-curved bill, long neck and legs, a wingspan of approximately 110cm and weighing in around 900g, makes it stand out from other migratory shorebirds feeding along the shoreline of the Peel-Harvey Inlet. It uses its long bill to probe in the mudflats for food and to dig up crustaceans such as crabs. It roosts on sandy spits and sandbars or among coastal saltmarshes.
It breeds in Russia in their summer before flying to Australia in late July to August to spend its non-breeding season here feeding before, once again, flying back to Russia between late February and May.
It is susceptible to human disturbance which affects feeding and roosting patterns resulting in a loss of energy reserves and reduced capacity for making the long trip back to Russia to breed.
So when you are fortunate enough to see the Critically Endangered Eastern Curlew feeding on our shoreline, take the time observe it from a distance and marvel at its long flight ahead to the northern hemisphere’s summer.