Whimbrel (species: Numenius phaeopus) in ALA: LIRS and surrounds using records to Oct. 2021 (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Numenius phaeopus

©Mike Baird: Whimbrel

©Ceri Pearce: Whimbrel at swamp behind Watson's Bay, Lizard Island

©Charlie Shuetrim: Two Whimbrels on the shore at Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae
Genus Numenius
Species Numenius phaeopus



Distinguishing features

The Whimbrel has a long, downcurved black bill that is pink at its lower base. The bird is brown above and paler brown below. There is a darker stripe from the base of the bill through the eye. At Lizard Island, Whimbrels have a white patch on the lower back that is clearly visible in flight, although Simpson et al (2004) state that this character is variable across its wider distribution.


  • Up to 43 cm (Length of specimen)


  • Wingspan data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Web resources


  • Domm, S. (1977). Sea birds and waders of the Lizard Island area, The Sunbird, 8: 1-8. LIRS catalog number 4.
  • Smith, G.C. (1987). The birds of Eagle Island, a tropical sand cay on the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia, The Sunbird, 17(1): 1-11. LIRS catalog number 245.