Whimbrel (species: Numenius (Numenius) phaeopus) in Monterey Bay, California (Gaia Guide)
Numenius (Numenius) phaeopus

©Mike Baird: Whimbrel

©Charlie: Two Whimbrels on the shore at Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia

©Anne: Whimbrel at Lizard Island
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae
Genus Numenius
Species Numenius (Numenius) phaeopus
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

The Whimbrel has a long, downcurved black bill that is pink at its lower base. The bird is brown above and paler brown below. There is a darker stripe from the base of the bill through the eye. At Lizard Island, Whimbrels have a white patch on the lower back that is clearly visible in flight, although Simpson et al (2004) state that this character is variable across its wider distribution.


  • Up to 43 cm (Length of specimen)


  • From 76 cm to 89 cm


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Audio recordings


Essex, England

© Marc Anderson

Web resources


  • Domm, S. (1977). Sea birds and waders of the Lizard Island area, The Sunbird, 8: 1-8. LIRS catalog number 4.
  • Simpson, K., N. Day and P. Trusler (2004). Field Guide to Birds of Australia: 7th Edition Penguin Group (Australia), Camberwell, Victoria.
  • Smith, G.C. (1987). The birds of Eagle Island, a tropical sand cay on the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia, The Sunbird, 17(1): 1-11. LIRS catalog number 245.