Common Whimbrel

Numenius phaeopus

The Common Whimbrel is another wading bird that visits South Africa only during our summer months, with most birds arriving locally after an arduous trek from their breeding grounds in Russia at the start of spring and staying until early autumn. During their time in this country they’re seen quite commonly along the coast and (much less frequently) at inland bodies of water. Our largest single population is probably found at the Langebaan Lagoon in the West Coast National Park. A fairly significant portion of their local population, probably youngsters, overwinter in South Africa. The Whimbrel is found, for at least part of the year, on the shorelines of and at large lakes and wetlands on all the continents except Antarctica though some authorities consider the Hudsonian Whimbrel that lives in the Americas to be a separate species. The IUCN considers it to be of least concern.

The Common Whimbrel feeds on aquatic invertebrates, found by probing the wet sand and mud in lagoons, estuaries and marshes with its exceptionally long bill. The bill is in fact 2-2.5 times longer than their head! Fully grown Whimbrels measure about 43cm long and weigh around 400g. They’re usually seen singly or in loosely associated flocks, often in the company of other wading birds.


6 thoughts on “Common Whimbrel

  1. wetanddustyroads

    Ek het hulle ook al baie in Langebaan gesien, maar nooit geweet wat hulle name is nie. En toe is dit al die tyd ‘n Russiese “invasion” 😉. Ek stem saam met Aletta dat hulle baie ver vlieg … as ek die Common Whimbrel was, het ek vir altyd in Langebaan gebly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DeWetsWild Post author

      Julle is gelukkig in die sin dat die Grootwulp, wat baie skaarser is, ook daar by Langebaan voorkom, Aletta. Hulle snawels is nog langer as die van die Kleinwulp!



Please don't leave without sharing your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.