American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 40

LONG-BILLED CURLEW (Numenius americanus). The largest of the curlews and also the largest of the shore birds, measuring about 2 feet in length. The bill is very long and quite curved, measuring from 4 to 8 in. in length. Not many years ago these great birds occurred regularly along the Atlantic coast north to New England, but at present are only regarded as stragglers. They breed from Texas and northern California north to Saskatchewan and winter on the South Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

     Even in the interior they are rapidly diminishing in numbers, for no gunner loses the chance to bag them and they are the very easiest of game to secure. They are killed chiefly because of their size; their flesh is rather tough and not very desirable. They come to decoys readily, but one does not even need decoys, for an imitation of their clear flute-like cur-lew will bring passing birds within range without fail.


HUDSONIAN CURLEWS (Numenius hudsonicus) or "Jack Curlews," as gunners usually call them, measure only about 17 in. in length. Notice that the crown is solid brownish-black, with a narrow stripe through the middle, this easily distinguishing them from the smaller Eskimo Curlews, which have the crown streaked all over with buff. These birds breed along the Arctic coast and migrate mainly along both Atlantic and Pacific coasts to their winter homes, which are from the Gulf coast to southern South America. If the weather is favorable, they leave land at Labrador or Newfoundland and do not stop along the coast of the United States.


ESKIMO CURLEWS (Numenius borealis) are but 13 in. in length, have short, little curved bills and differ otherwise from the preceding species as explained above. They bred in Arctic regions, migrated in close flocks along the coast to southern South America and returned through the Mississippi Valley; they are at present practically extinct.