noun \ˈkər-(ˌ)lü, ˈkərl-(ˌ)yü\

: a large brown bird with long legs and a long thin bill that lives near the water

plural curlews or curlew

Full Definition of CURLEW

:  any of various largely brownish chiefly migratory birds (especially genus Numenius) having long legs and a long slender down-curved bill and related to the sandpipers and snipes

Origin of CURLEW

Middle English, from Anglo-French curleu, of imitative origin
First Known Use: 14th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of eight species (genus Numenius) of shorebirds having a sickle-shaped bill that curves downward at the tip, a streaked, gray or brown body, and a long neck and legs. Curlews breed inland in temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and migrate far south. They eat insects and seeds during migration but feed on worms and fiddler crabs while wintering on marshes and coastal mudflats. The eastern curlew is the largest species (24 in., or 60 cm, long); the common, or Eurasian, curlew, almost as large, is the largest European shorebird. The Eskimo curlew is now virtually extinct.


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