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Numenius species and subspecies in west Kazakhstan

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Pages
1 – 10

Published
1 April 13

Authors
Peter Köhler, Lars Lachmann, Ruslan Urazliyev

Correspondence
Peter Köhler
pkoehler@mnet-online.de
Rosenstr. 18, D-85774 Unterföhring, Germany.

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A survey of potential roosting and moulting sites of Slender-billed Curlews Numenius tenuirostris was carried out in selected areas between the Volga and Ural rivers in W Kazakhstan between 21 Jul and 7 Aug 2010. No Slender-billed Curlews were found, but we noted small numbers of other curlews, which included some note worthy observations of the steppe forms alboaxillaris of Whimbrel N. phaeopus, and suschkini of Eurasian Curlew N. arquata. In total, 54 Eurasian Curlews were recorded; a number comparable with those seen in the area in the 1960s, but the total of 337 Whimbrels encountered was lower than numbers in the early 1960s. However, this may have been due to abnormally high daytime temperatures during the  survey, exceeding 40°C, rendering a number of wetlands waterless. Among Whimbrels, we were able to determine the pattern on the axillaries for 90 birds; of these 11 had pure white axillaries, resembling alboaxillaris; one or perhaps as many as five could be assigned to rogachevae from central Siberia; and the remainder had more or less barred axillaries resembling nominate phaeopus. The underwings of four  Eurasian Curlews resembled nominate arquata or intermediates between arquata and orientalis, while two adults and two nearly fledged young of two late broods were assigned to the subspecies suschkini. Characters found in the latter included a strongly contrasting colour pattern on head and tail.