Curlew – 2003-07 breeding

Numenius arquata – GYLFINIR – Breeding resident, winter visitor and passage migrant

Comparison with previous atlas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed21
Breeding probable6
Breeding possible6excluded from total
No of tetrads occupied14 (of 478)1 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads2.9%0.2%

By the 1980s it was estimated that only about 20 pairs were still breeding in Pembrokeshire.  Of these, the majority (13 pairs) were on Skomer, with the rest in the boggy areas of the Preseli Hills. Between 2003 and 2007 the number of tetrads in which they were found had shrunk to just two from 12 recorded during the 1984-88 period, a decline of 83%.

They were only confirmed breeding on Skomer where six to nine pairs nested during the 2003-7 atlas period. The breeding population in Wales is also in trouble – BBS records indicate a 33% decline in the population between 1994 and 2007 across Wales as a whole, based on 37 sample sites.

Further research is needed to determine if former mainland haunts in Pembrokeshire are capable of supporting breeding curlews again.

Bob Haycock (BTO rep & Chairman of the Pembs Bird Group)

Rees G.H., Haycock R.J., Haycock A, Hodges J.E., Sutcliffe S.J., Jenks P, and Dobbins R. 2008, Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pembrokeshire 2003-07. Pembrokeshire Bird Group.

Note – the ‘possible breeding’ records shown are excluded because they are more likely to be birds on migration.

More about the Curlew in Pembrokeshire