Bristle-thighed Curlew – Accepted

1. 14–17 May 1998


Crescent City DN



Fig. 218, ph., FN 52:384, Patterson (1998)

2. 16–25 May 1998


Kehoe Beach, Pt. Reyes MRN



Figs. 127, 219, ph., video, cover WB 30(3)


Bristle-thighed Curlew – Not accepted, identification not established

27 Aug 1973


Pescadero Marsh SM




06 May 1998


Kehoe Beach, Pt. Reyes MRN




09 May 1998


Big Lagoon HUM




20 Jan 2003


Goleta SBA











Figure 127. The adult Bristle-thighed Curlew at Kehoe Beach, Pt. Reyes, Marin County, 20 May 1998, had a voracious appetite for sand crabs (Emerita analoga) (1998-076; Rich Stallcup).



Figures 218, 219 (above, below). California’s only accepted records of the Bristle-thighed Curlew refer to adults found just two days apart, both of which remained long enough to be widely enjoyed. The top bird was photographed on 16 May 1998 at Crescent City in Del Norte County (1998-075; Ron LeValley), the bottom on 21 May 1998 at Kehoe Beach in Marin County (1998-076; Steve N. G. Howell). Both birds show rich tawny rectrices, boldly patterned upperparts, buffy plumage, and relatively short legs.










Bristle-thighed Curlew

BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW Numenius tahitiensis (Gmelin, 1789)

Accepted: 2 (29%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 5

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 0

Large color images: see Figures

This species breeds locally in western Alaska and migrates across the ocean to and from its winter quarters on islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean, where non-breeders remain for their first two to four years of life (Marks and Redmond 1996). Spring migrants have been encountered in southern coastal Alaska. The species is casual in Japan, among the Mariana and Caroline Islands of the southwestern Pacific Ocean, among the Aleutian Islands, and on St. Lawrence Island; it is very rare on the Pribilof Islands. Until the 1998 event discussed below, only four published records existed for the Pacific coast south of Alaska: a 30–31 May 1969 specimen from northwestern Vancouver Island, British Columbia (Richardson 1970); one at Vancouver, British Columbia, 13–14 May 1983 (Campbell et al. 1990b); one at Leadbetter Pt., Washington, 1 May 1982 (Widrig 1983); and two at Bandon, Oregon, 16 September 1981 (Marshall et al. 2003). More recently, on 22 May 2006, one was photographed in northwestern Oregon (NAB 60:428).

Anomalous northerly and westerly winds over the northeastern Pacific Ocean during spring 1998 (see Patterson 1998 and Mlodinow et al. 1999) precipitated California’s first records of the Bristle-thighed Curlew: 14–17 May in Crescent City, Del Norte County (Figure 218), and 16–25 May at Kehoe Beach, Marin County (Figures 127, 219). These were California’s contributions to an unprecedented landfall that took place from 6 to 25 May 1998 and yielded coastal records of 13 to 17 Bristle-thighed Curlews between central California and northern Washington (Patterson 1998, Mlodinow et al. 1999). Two other credible reports from central and northern California during the same period were deemed by the CBRC to be inadequately documented.