from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A grayish-brown wading bird (Numenius phaeopus) having a white, heavily streaked breast.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large migratory wading bird, Numenius phaeopus, of the family Scolopacidae, with a long downcurved bill.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of several species of small curlews, especially the European species (Numenius phæopus), called also Jack curlew, half curlew, stone curlew, and tang whaup. See Illustration in appendix.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The Australian curlew, Numenius uropygialis.
  • n. The jack-curlew or half-curlew of Europe, Numenius phæopus, smaller than the curlew proper, N. arquatus, and very closely related to the Hudsonian curlew of North America, N. hudsonicus. Also called tang-whaup, May whaup, and little whaup (which see, under whaup).


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Perhaps alteration of whimper (from its cry).


  • Arctic breeding shorebirds such as the dunlin, whimbrel and western sandpiper converge on the rich feeding grounds along the coasts from Louisiana to Florida.

    Spill’s danger to migratory birds

  • As a whimbrel remarked to me the other day, it is remarkable how they find their way back to the same spot every year.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • Herons, egrets, storks, sandpipers, whimbrel, curlew and numerous other waders are to be seen along the muddy banks and on the chars or sandbanks which become exposed during the dry season.

    Sundarbans, Bangladesh

  • However, there is no doubt that mangroves of this ecoregion are crucial to several long-distance bird migrants including ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres), spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularia), and whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) that utilize them as feeding and resting places from August through April during their extraordinary intercontinental journey.

    Rio São Francisco mangroves

  • A lone whimbrel set down on its migration north, its beautiful brown curves streaked back and its fine down-curved bill like the blown brown grass it walked in.

    A Year on the Wing

  • Migratory birds, such as semipalmated plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) and whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) are found mostly from September through April, during their seasonal movements.

    Bahia mangroves

  • Widespread are great blue heron Ardea herodias, great egret Casmerodias albus, marbled godwit Limosa fedoa whimbrel Numenius phaeopus and longbilled curlew N. americanus, royal terns Sterna maximus, and on rocky shores, eared grebe Podiceps nigricollis and belted kingfisher Ceryle alcyon.

    Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California, Mexico

  • Several migratory wader species are regular visitors to the island, principally are double-banded dotterel Charadrius bicinctus, eastern golden plover Pluvialis dominica, turnstone Arenaria interpres, whimbrel Numenius phaeopus and bar-tailed godwit Limosa lapponica.

    Lord Howe Island Group, Australia

  • I saw a flock of long-billed waders, like small whimbrel, a great variety of beautiful little doves, and many of that queer bird the natives call Sakonboota, whose tail grows so long in the breeding season that his little wings can hardly lift it above the ground, and he flutters about in the breeze like a badly made kite.

    Ladysmith The Diary of a Siege

  • Down on the firm greensward there was indeed a herd of wild horses feeding; mallard and coot swam about the waters; the whimbrel laughed from the bent-sides, and three herons stood on the side of the causeway seeking a good fishing-stead.

    Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair


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