Are long-billed curlews really shorebirds?

Long-billed curlews are North America’s largest shorebirds but they are often found away from shorelines. In our region, we usually associate them with dry open grasslands but this is only the breeding part of their life cycle. They breed on open grasslands in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and many northwest and north central U.S. States such as Washington, Montana, and South Dakota. They arrive in our region, which is near the northern limit of their breeding distribution in early April to mate and raise young. In mid to late summer, curlews head south to wetter habitats. They winter on mudflats, tidal estuaries, wetlands, and other habitats in Texas, Arizona, California, and Mexico. Here they feed more like a typical shorebird. Populations are declining due to grassland and wetland habitat loss, pesticides, and other causes (they were nearly eliminated due to market hunting in the past)

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