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Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

IUCN Red List Criteria

Critically Endangered  
Endangered A2bc+3bc+4bc 
Vulnerable A2bc+3bc+4bc 

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2015 Endangered
2012 Vulnerable
2010 Vulnerable
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 continent
Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 727,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2012
Population trend Decreasing medium Estimated -
Number of subpopulations - - -
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 Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Afghanistan Unknown Extant        
Australia Native Extant   Yes    
Bangladesh Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Brunei Native Extant   Yes    
China (mainland) Native Extant   Yes    
Fiji Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Guam (to USA) Native Extant   Yes    
Hong Kong (China) Native Extant   Yes    
Indonesia Native Extant   Yes    
Iran, Islamic Republic of Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Japan Native Extant   Yes    
Malaysia Native Extant   Yes    
Micronesia, Federated States of Native Extant   Yes    
Mongolia Native Extant Yes      
New Zealand Native Extant   Yes    
North Korea Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Native Extant   Yes    
Oman Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Palau Native Extant   Yes    
Papua New Guinea Native Extant   Yes    
Philippines Native Extant   Yes    
Russia Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Singapore Native Extant   Yes    
South Korea Native Extant   Yes    
Taiwan (China) Native Extant   Yes    
Thailand Native Extant   Yes    
Timor-Leste Native Extant   Yes Yes  
USA Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Vietnam Native Extant   Yes Yes  

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Australia Adelaide and Mary River Floodplains site factsheet
Australia Buckingham Bay site factsheet
Australia Corner Inlet site factsheet
Australia Eighty Mile Beach site factsheet
Australia Great Sandy Strait site factsheet
Australia Gulf Plains site factsheet
Australia Hunter Estuary site factsheet
Australia Milingimbi Islands site factsheet
Australia Moreton Bay and Pumicestone Passage site factsheet
Australia Port McArthur Tidal Wetlands System site factsheet
Australia Repulse Bay to Ince Bay site factsheet
Australia Roebuck Bay site factsheet
Australia Shoalwater Bay (Rockhampton) site factsheet
Australia Western Port site factsheet
China (mainland) Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve site factsheet
China (mainland) Shuangtai (Shuangtaizi) Estuary and Inner Gulf of Liaodong site factsheet
China (mainland) Wenzhou Wan site factsheet
China (mainland) Yalu Jiang Estuary site factsheet
Indonesia Sembilang site factsheet
Malaysia Bako-Buntal Bay site factsheet
Malaysia Pulau Bruit National Park site factsheet
Malaysia Sadong-Saribas coast site factsheet
North Korea Amrok River estuary site factsheet
North Korea Chongchon River estuary (including Mundok Nature Reserve) site factsheet
North Korea Chongdan field site factsheet
North Korea Daedong Bay site factsheet
North Korea Ongjin Bay site factsheet
North Korea Sogam-do, Daegam-do, Zung-do, Ae-do and Hyengzedo islands site factsheet
Palau Northern Peleliu Lkes (sandflats) site factsheet
Philippines Olango Island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Arkhara lowlands site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Malakchan bay site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Ola lagoon site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Perevolochny bay site factsheet
South Korea Asan Bay (including Asan-ho lake and Sapgyo-ho lake) site factsheet
South Korea Dongjin estuary site factsheet
South Korea Namyang Bay site factsheet
South Korea Sihwa-ho lake site factsheet
South Korea Tidal flat area of southern Ganghwa-do island site factsheet
South Korea Tidal flat area of Yeongjong-do island site factsheet
South Korea Yubu-do island site factsheet

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 0 - 0 m 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) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Food - human - - - Subsistence, National

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Numenius madagascariensis. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1766)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 727,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species