National survey of breeding Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata in the Republic of Ireland, 2015–2017


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1 April 19

Barry G. O’Donoghue, Anita Donaghy, Seán B.A. Kelly


Barry O’Donoghue
National Parks & Wildlife Service, Knockreer House, Killarney National Park, Killarney, Co. Kerry, V93FXP6, Republic of Ireland


Public Files

Following concerns about suspected severe declines in the population of breeding Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata, National Parks and Wildlife Service commissioned a national survey in the Irish Republic between 2015 and 2017. The primary objective of the survey was to establish a minimum population estimate for the Republic of Ireland and record the locations of breeding territories. All available records of Curlew from preceding breeding seasons since 2007 were collated and suitable habitat within a 3-km radius of each of these points was surveyed. In addition, a wider appeal for information on possible breeding Curlew was made to identify the locations of other potential breeding pairs, records which were subsequently verified. In total, 138 breeding pairs of Curlew were recorded. Most of these (128 pairs) were within or very close to the boundary of the designated survey area and ten pairs were recorded from other sources, including the public information appeal. Based on extrapolations from previous population estimates, this represents a population decline of at least 96% in less than 30 years. Confirmation of the severity of decline led to the establishment of a Curlew Task Force in January 2017 and a Curlew Conservation Programme aimed at increasing the productivity of remaining Curlew pairs.