This species, formerly among the most abundant North American shorebirds, is now likely extinct. Sightings are occasionally reported, but the last confirmed occurrence was a bird shot in 1963. Eskimo Curlews strongly resemble Little Curlews and juvenile Whimbrels. Upperparts are dark brown with buffy feather edges and spotting. The head shows a dark crown with an indistinct lighter central stripe, and dark lores. The underparts are buffy, with darker streaks on the neck and breast and dark chevrons on the sides and flanks. The underwing coverts are cinnamon. The primaries are solid dark brown with no barring. The wingtips extend well beyond the tail. The bill is dark with a reddish base to the lower mandible. The bill is fairly short, compared to other curlews, and curves evenly downward. The legs are gray.
Length: 32 (cm) Wingspan: (cm)
Nests on Arctic tundra. In migration, uses prairies (especially burned or disturbed areas), plowed fields, coastal plains.
With a migration route that included long over-ocean flights, tired and hungry birds were likely easy targets for hunters at both ends of their annual migratory circuit. Some sources suggest the annual "take" during the late 1800s may have been into the millions of birds.
Feeds on insects and berries.
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