Name: Far Eastern Curlew
Scientific name: Numenius madagascariensis
Conservation status: IUCN - Endangered, CMS - Appendix I

The Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis is endemic to the East Asian – Australasian Flyway. It is the largest migratory shorebird species in the world. EAAFP Far Eastern Curlew Task Force was officially endorsed by the Partnership in January 2015, to facilitate the development of a Species Action Plan for Far Eastern Curlew in 2017.


Far Eastern Curlew is the largest migratory shorebird in the world. Their body is 53-66cm in length and they have long legs. They have a conspicuous long thin curved bill. It has blackish-brown upperpart feathers with streaked neck and chest, while underpart feathers brownish-buff colored with dark-brown streaking turning to thicker arrow-shaped streaks on the flanks. Females are larger in size and have longer billed than males.

Distribution range

*This interactive map was produced by EAAFP Far Eastern Curlew Task Force and EAAFP Secretariat.

Breeding grounds: breeds mainly in northern China, Siberia and Kamchatka in Russia.

Passage or in winter (or as a vagrant): The Yellow Sea region including China, DPR Korea, Ro Korea is important stop-over site. Also found in Japan, Southeast Asia including Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore.

Wintering ground: Most stay in Australia and some in New Zealand for the non-breeding season, also important wintering sites are Japan, eastern coast of China, while the quarter of the population winter in the Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.


Far Eastern Curlew roosting site in Hwaseong Wetland © Vivian Fu/EAAFP

Breeds in open mossy or transitional bogs, moss-lichen bogs and wet meadows. Non-breeding season inhabits coastal and estuarine swamps, mangrove, saltmarshes and intertidal flats, sandflats, beaches.

Population estimate

20,000-49,999 individuals. In Australia, this species has declined by 81% in last 30 years.

Main threats

Mainly habitat loss, especially in the Yellow Sea region as its key stop-over site, due to reclamation of tidal flats and deterioration of staging areas. Human disturbances and hunting are ongoing threats.

How you can help

  • There is a lack of knowledge about the species, such as distribution sites and the factors causing its decline, support us to do studies, surveys, report sightings of the species and record the sites.
  • Sustainable management and protection of the sites where Far Eastern Curlew use.
  • Help to promote the conservation of Far Eastern Curlew, share news and join activities such as bird survey, wetland clean up.
  • Join EAAFP Far Eastern Curlew Task Force
  • Donate and support EAAFP’s work.

Learn more about Far Eastern Curlew


Click [here] to download the Far Eastern Curlew Factsheet. All Copyrights Reserved.