Picture Profile 2409: Curlew and Sea Kale (Numenius arquata and Crambe maritima)

Picture Profile 2409: Curlew and Sea Kale. Artist Code 2409. (Numenius arquata and Crambe maritima). Water colour on Aquarelle Arches 100% cotton paper 140lb. 12″ x 16″. Completed 29th April 2024

Although this long-legged, wading bird is called the “Common” Curlew, sadly it has declined in numbers recently mainly due to habitat loss through changes in farming practices and forest planting. It has been on the UK Red List for Birds from 2021, and is a Priority Species under the UK Biodiversity Framework. It is also listed as Near Threatened on the global IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is a very pretty bird and its plumage is very striking, although its colour is mainly shades of brown.

I had some lovely resource photographs of the Norfolk coast and I have used these for the backdrop, including some washed up debris in the form of old wood and string tangled together. Although these birds reside in Britain, we do get overwintering visitors to the Cley Marshes and Holme Dunes.

The bird is a tall wader, about the size of a female pheasant and its unmistakable “cur-lee” call is heard from February to July during the breeding season. Strangely, the female of the species is larger and has a longer beak than the male. They prefer to breed in wide open spaces with lots of rough grass and ground cover with damp or watery feeding stations near by, usually on grasslands, farmland, heaths and moorlands.

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