Common Whimbrel

Numenius phaeopus

The common whimbrel, as its name suggests, is a common Palearctic migrant to southern Africa and rocks up at our coastal wetlands (and to a lesser extent open shores) in summer. It is a fairly large wader with an over-sized, strongly decurved bill and a very distinctive whistle-like call, and can be easily separated from the far more uncommon Eurasian curlew by its smaller size, darker appearance and shorter bill.
If you are lucky you can sometimes bump into this chap at inland dams such as Mkhombo Dam in Mpumulanga, where it occurs as a vagrant.

I first recorded and photographed this bird in June 2011 while visiting the West Coast National Park. It is an easy bird to locate not just because of its size and shape but also because of its bubbling call, which is often made in flight.


Common Whimbrel / Che Shale, Malindi, Kenya / 19 September 2011 Common Whimbrel / Che Shale, Malindi, Kenya / 19 September 2011
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