Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis


Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- A2bc+3bc+4bc A2bc+3bc+4bc

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Endangered A2bc+3bc+4bc
2015 Endangered A2bc+3bc+4bc
2012 Vulnerable A4bcd
2010 Vulnerable A4b,c,d
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1994 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Low
Land mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 5,590,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 47,500,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor estimated 2012
Population trend Decreasing medium estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 70-79 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 70-79 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 10.1 - - -

Population justification: Wetlands International (2006) estimated the global population at c. 38,000 individuals, although a more recent update now estimates the population at 32,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). It is therefore placed in the band 20,000-49,999 individuals.

Trend justification: An analysis of monitoring data collected from around Australia and New Zealand (Studds et al. in prep.) suggests that the species has declined much more rapidly than was previously thought; with an annual rate of decline of 0.058 equating to a loss of 81.7% over three generations. Loss of habitat at critical stopover sites in the Yellow Sea is suspected to be the key threat to this species and given that it is restricted to the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, the declines in the non-breeding population are thought to be representative of the global population.

Local-scale declines have also been reported: the species has been declining steadily in Australia, at a rate of 2.4% annually in Moreton Bay between 1992 and 2008 (Wilson et al. 2011);  c. 5% annually in Victoria between 1980 and 2010 (D. Rogers in litt. 2012); by over 65% in Tasmania since the 1950s (Reid and Park 2003); and by 40% across 49 Australian sites between c. 1983 and c. 2007 (D. Rogers et al. in litt. 2009, Birds Australia in litt. to Garnett et al. 2011). Declines seem equally worrying in North-western Australia (D. Rogers in litt. 2012). Furthermore, the population at Saemangeum (South Korea) has decreased by 32.6% (c. 1,800 birds) between 2006 and 2008 due to the reclamation of tidal flats (Moores 2006, Moores et al. in litt. 2008). Although these sites only represent a proportion of the wintering and stopover populations, threats are widespread and are projected to cause population declines in the future (D. Rogers in litt. 2009). Given that more reclamation is proposed within the Yellow Sea,with widespread threats elsewhere on the flyway, it is assumed that these declines will continue.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan U Extant
Australia N Extant Yes
Bangladesh V Extant Yes
Brunei N Extant Yes
China (mainland) N Extant Yes
Fiji N Extant Yes Yes
Guam (to USA) N Extant Yes
Hong Kong (China) N Extant Yes
Indonesia N Extant Yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of V Extant Yes
Japan N Extant Yes
Malaysia N Extant Yes
Micronesia, Federated States of N Extant Yes
Mongolia N Extant Yes
New Zealand N Extant Yes
North Korea N Extant Yes Yes
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) N Extant Yes
Oman V Extant Yes
Palau N Extant Yes
Papua New Guinea N Extant Yes
Philippines N Extant Yes
Russia N Extant Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
Singapore N Extant Yes
South Korea N Extant Yes
Taiwan, China N Extant Yes
Thailand N Extant Yes
Timor-Leste N Extant Yes Yes
USA V Extant Yes
Vietnam N Extant Yes Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Vietnam Bai Boi
Vietnam Dat Mui
Vietnam Thai Thuy
Vietnam Xuan Thuy
Vietnam Binh Dai
China (mainland) Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Wenzhou Wan
North Korea Amrok River estuary
North Korea Chongchon River estuary (including Mundok Nature Reserve)
North Korea Sogam-do, Daegam-do, Zung-do, Ae-do and Hyengzedo islands
North Korea Daedong Bay
North Korea Ongjin Bay
North Korea Chongdan field
Malaysia Bako-Buntal Bay
Malaysia Pulau Bruit National Park
Philippines Olango Island
Russia (Asian) Arkhara lowlands
Russia (Asian) Malakchan bay
Indonesia Sembilang
South Korea Tidal flat area of southern Ganghwa-do island
South Korea Tidal flat area of Yeongjong-do island
South Korea Namyang Bay
South Korea Asan Bay (including Asan-ho lake and Sapgyo-ho lake)
South Korea Yubu-do island
South Korea Dongjin estuary
South Korea Sihwa-ho lake
Malaysia Sadong-Saribas coast
Australia Milingimbi Islands
Australia Buckingham Bay
Australia Adelaide and Mary River Floodplains
Australia Port McArthur Tidal Wetlands System
Australia Moreton Bay and Pumicestone Passage
Australia Hunter Estuary
Australia Gulf Plains
Australia Corner Inlet
Australia Western Port
Australia Shoalwater Bay (Rockhampton)
Australia Great Sandy Strait
Australia Eighty Mile Beach
Australia Roebuck Bay
Australia Repulse Bay to Ince Bay
China (mainland) Shuangtai (Shuangtaizi) Estuary and Inner Gulf of Liaodong
China (mainland) Yalu Jiang Estuary
Russia (Asian) Ola lagoon
Russia (Asian) Perevolochny bay
Indonesia Teluk Kupang
Timor-Leste Tasitolu
Thailand Inner Gulf of Thailand
Thailand Ko Li Bong
Thailand Ao Pattani
Palau Northern Peleliu Lkes (sandflats)
Australia Broad Sound
China (mainland) Laoting (Daqing He–Shi Jiu Tuo)
China (mainland) Luannan coast and saltworks
China (mainland) Huanghua coast (Cangzhou)
China (mainland) Dongsha shoals
China (mainland) Tiaozini (Dongtai coast)
China (mainland) Rudong coast
China (mainland) Dongling coast

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Boreal suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Mud Flats and Salt Flats suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Agriculture & aquaculture Marine & freshwater aquaculture - Industrial aquaculture Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 3
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Residential & commercial development Commercial & industrial areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Very Rapid Declines High Impact: 8
Indirect ecosystem effects

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Numenius madagascariensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/12/2022.