Which species is our logo?

Here is the Wader Quest logo, designed by Rick and Elis Simpson four years ago this month, in 2015.

But which species is it?

Clearly this is a member of the Numenius family, the Curlews and Whimbrels, but on which species is it based?

A close look at it will quickly reveal that the bird has strong head stripes and a pale crown stripe, so that immediately rules out Eurasian, Far Eastern and Long-billed Curlews, all of which have, in addition, much longer bills.


Eurasian, Far Eastern and Long-billed Curlews; Photos © Elis Simpson

The logo is based on a photo that Elis took, so it is neither of the extinct species; Slender-billed nor Eskimo Curlew and the bill is too robust and long for it to be Little Curlew which we also did not see.

So that leaves us with the two Whimbrels, Hudsonian and Eurasian, and Bristle-thighed Curlew.

From here it is a bit trickier, however the bird in our logo shows a pale lower mandible at the base. This is a feature of both Whimbrels and the Bristle-thighed Curlew outside the breeding season. However the Bristle thighed Curlew bill is also more extensively pink, especially on the on the upper mandible. Outside the breeding season they are also less well marked on the cheeks and neck than the whimbrels.

We can therefore rule that one out and we didn’t see that one either!


Bristle-thighed Curlew; Photo © Dominic Sherony

So how can we tell if this is a Hudsonian Whimbrel or a Eurasian Whimbrel?

Well the truth is, as it is a black and white artwork, you probably can’t, but, given that the Hudsonian Whimbrel shows a more contrasting head pattern than the Eurasian Whimbrel, then it would be reasonable to deduce that this is most likely to have been based on Hudsonian Whimbrel.


Eurasian and Hudsonian Whimbrels; Photo © Elis Simpson

Indeed, if that was the conclusion at which you arrived, then pat yourself on the back, you’re right!


Hudsonian Whimbrel – Chile © Elis Simpson