Save the curlew! Taskforce set up to protect birds

Pairs of the birds have decreased by 97% since the 1980s

Save the curlew! Taskforce set up to protect birds

Image: Flickr

Minister for Arts and Heritage Heather Humphreys is establishing a taskforce to save one of Ireland's most distinctive birds - the Curlew.

The national breeding population has declined to below 150 pairs – a decline of 97% since the 1980s. Ireland is home to thousands of Curlew each winter, particularly along our coasts where migrant birds come to escape colder weather in Scotland or Scandinavia.

Speaking today Minister Humphreys called the decline of the Curlew a "serious concern".
 
"By convening this Taskforce, I am bringing together the relevant experts and decision makers to undertake further positive actions for the Curlew. I am hopeful that by working together and in particular by supporting positive initiatives for the bird, we can save the Curlew."

What is a curlew?

The Curlew is one of Ireland’s most distinctive birds, with long legs and a long, curved bill. It is renowned for its plaintive, bubbling call and can be found during the spring and summer in High Nature Value farmland areas and bogs. 

 
The Curlew is a red listed species under the Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland and is Ireland’s only species on the IUCN red list of endangered species.
 
The National Parks & Wildlife Service commissioned a national survey of breeding Curlew in 2015 and 2016, with input from NPWS staff, BirdWatch Ireland and the general public among others.
 
The survey shows how serious a situation our own native Irish Curlew are in, with just 122 breeding pairs recorded. This represents a 97% decrease since the 1980s. An estimated 78% range contraction has also occurred.