The family, SCOLOPACIDAE, is made up of sixteen genera split between seven subfamilies. Subfamily TRINGINAE is itself split into three Tribes. This page covers the Tribe NUMENIINI, which comprises Curlews and Whimbrels in the genus Numenius, Godwits in the genus Limosa and Upland Sandpiper with its unique genus Bartramia.

Family: SCOLOPACIDAE (Rafinesque 1815)

Subfamily: TRINGINAE Tribe: NUMENIINI

Genera: Three genera are recognised.

  • Numenius – Greek; noumenios mentioned by Hesychius; noumenia new or young moon; neos new or young; mene moon (Brisson 1760).
  • Limosa – Latin; limosus muddy (Brisson 1760).
  • Bartramia – After William Bartram (1739-1823) (Lesson 1831).
    • Europe: Eurasian Whimbrel, Eurasian and Slender-billed Curlew, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit.
    • Africa: Eurasian Whimbrel, Eurasian and Slender-billed Curlew, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit.
    • Asia: Eurasian Whimbrel, Little, Far Eastern, Eurasian and Slender-billed Curlew, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit.
    • Australasia: Eurasian Whimbrel, Little and Far Eastern Curlew, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit.
    • North America; Hudsonian Whimbrel, Eskimo and Long-billed Curlew, Upland Sandpiper Hudsonian and Marbled Godwit.
    • Central and South America: Hudsonian Whimbrel, Eskimo and Long-billed Curlew, Upland Sandpiper Hudsonian and Marbled Godwit.

Fourteen species within the tribe NUMENIINI comprising nine species of curlew and whimbrel in the genus Numenius, four species of godwit Limosa and a single species Upland Sandpiper in the genus
bartramia.

N. p. phaeopus (Linnaeus 1758)
N. p. alboaxillaris (Lowe1921)
N. p. variegatus (Scopoli 1786)
N. p. islandicus (C. L. Brehm 1831)
N. p. rogachevae (Tomkovich 2008)

N. hudsonicus (Latham 1790)
N. p. rufiventris (Vigors 1829)

N. a. arquata (Linnaeus 1758)
N. a. orientalis (C. L. Brehm 1831)
N. a. suschkini (Neumann 1929)

L. l. limosa (Linnaeus 1758)
L. l. islandica (C. L. Brehm 1831)
L. l. melanuroides (Gould 1846)

L. l. lapponica (Linnaeus 1758)
L. l. taymyrensis (Engelmoer & Roselaar 1998)
L. l. menzbieri (Portenko 1936)
L. l. baueri (J. F. Naumann 1836)

Marbled Godwit L. fedoa (Linnaeus 1758)

L. f. fedoa (‘Scolopax Fedoa’ Linnaeus 1758)
L. f. beringiae (Gibson & Kessel 1989)

  • Hudsonian Whimbrel was, until recently, considered a subspecies of a single species simply known as Whimbrel. When the two were split the subspecies rufiventris, which is not universally accepted, became a subspecies of Hudsonian Whimbrel.
  • The closely related Little and Eskimo Curlews were once considered to be conspecific.
  • The closely related Black-tailed and Hudsonin Godwits were once considered to be conspecific.
  • Race parvus of Long-billed Curlew was formerly labelled occidentalis, however, as the type specimen has been lost it cannot be verified and so parvus is now considered valid.
    • The subspecies vareigatus of Eurasian Whimbrel has been proposed as a potential split to full species level.
    • The subspecies melanuroides of Black-tailed Godwit proposed as a separate species.
  • BirdLife International: IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/03/2020
  • del Hoyo, Josep, Andrew Elliot & Jordi Sargatal: Handbook of the Birds of the World – Vol. 3 (1996)
  • Hayman, Peter, John Marchant & Tony Prater: Shorebirds – An identification guide to the waders of the world (1986)
  • Jobling, James A.: Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names (2010)
  • Seebohm, Henry: The Geographical Distribution of the Family Charadriidae, or, The Plovers, Sandpipers, Snipes, and Their Allies (1888)

Click on an image for more information about the individual species.

Genus Numenius

Curlews and Godwits
BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW – Vulnerable
ESKIMO CURLEW – Critically Endangered
Curlews and Godwits
EURASIAN CURLEW – Near Threatened
Curlews and Godwits
FAR EASTERN CURLEW – Endangered
Curlews and Godwits
LITTLE CURLEW – Least Concern
Curlews and Godwits
LONG-BILLED CURLEW – Least Concern
Curlews and Godwits
SLENDER-BILLED CURLEW – Critically Endangered
Curlews and Godwits
EURASIAN WHIMBREL – Least Concern
Curlews and Godwits
HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL – Least Concern

Genus Bartramia

UPLAND SANDPIPER – Least Concern

Genus Limosa

Curlews and Godwits
BAR-TAILED GODWIT – Near Threatened

Curlews and Godwits
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT – Near Threatened
Curlews and Godwits
 HUDSONIAN GODWIT – Least Concern

MARBLED GODWIT – Least Concern