basic information

Eurasian Whimbrel

Numenius phaeopus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Средний кроншнеп | Қасқа шалшықшы

Sorbulak lake, Almaty region
© Gennadiy Dyakin


Eurasian Whimbrel is similar in colour to Curlew but is well distinguished by the colour of upper-head which id plain black-brownish with longitudinal not broad but well expressive median pale strip. From all other parts the brownish crown boarded by the pale supercilliums. Rear-back and rump are white with dark-brown spots. Uppertail is white with broad dark core-streaks; the longest of them are cross-striped. Flanks, abdomen and undertail often have chaotic transversal pattern. Axilla feathers are white with narrow dark transversal strips. Tail feathers are grey with dark-brown transversal pattern. Bill is black, lags are bluish-grey. Eyes are brownish. Juveniles are similar on adult but browner. Size: wing 225-270 mm, bill 65-90 mm.


Whimbrel breeds in Western Kazakhstan. On migration it occurs throughout in plains. Please see the detailed distribution in Kazakhstan in the chapter "Races".


Whimbrel is very rare breeding and common passage migrant. It inhabits river meadows, but in Siberia it lives on marsh shores of lakes. On migration it occurs on grassy shores of lakes and rivers, or near salty lakes in steppe and saline areas. In spring Whimbrel appears in April - early May, latest birds were observed in end of May - early June. Whimbre migrates singly or in small flocks numbering up to 50 birds. The one only nest found at May 25 1986 had 2 eggs and 2 chicks. The copulated birds recorded at May 21 1982 close to Chelkar lake. In autumn migrated birds recorded in July - August, some birds linger up to end of September - early October.


Numenius phaeopus phaeopus (Linnaeus, 1758)

    Description. Rump and upper tail coverts are white or slightly dark mottled. But occasionally these mottles so developed that dark colour dominates on white. Axillaries usually have pattern from 6-8 cross dark bars; rarely pattern is formed by dark spots not merged to bars; even rarely axillaries are pure white.
    Distribution. Breeds in Western Kazakhstan, where nest was found in 50 km to north from Chapaevo village. On migration occurs throughout on plains.

Numenius phaeopus variegatus (Scopoli, 1786)

    Description. Rump and upper tail coverts are with well developed dark pattern, sometimes almost hid white background. Axillaries have pattern from 7-9 cross dark bars. Some birds have weak pattern on said parts; so some individuals have axillaries pattern even as little dark mottles.
    Distribution. The distribution range of this race in Kazakhstan isn't well known.


"Птицы Казахстана" том 2. Алма-Ата, 1962. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005.



Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Numenius phaeopus variegatus
(Scopoli, 1786)

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