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The only difference I can see is that the whimbrel seems to have a short beak? Anything else obvious?
In short yes. The Whimbrel's bill is shorter and curves almost from the off, the Curlew's is longer, straighter to start with before curving. There are other differences but the bill is the best.
Chris Brooks - www.dragonfly-images.co.uk
My Flickr site - www.flickr.com/photos/ceb1298
The bill is useful, but juvenile Curlews have a shorter bill, so there can be similarities. Most Whimbrel have a bold stripe on the side of the crown, and show an obvious pale supercilium. The bill length, together with Whimbrel's bold face pattern usually sorts them out easily.
It's worth pointing out that this bird has its head at a slight angle away, so that the beak looks shorter than normal.
My Flickr photos...
I have other photos - put one up, the bill definitely seems to be shorter compared to the curlew bill.
Yes...it is! Whimbrel are actually quite different, being smaller birds overall with a shorter bill and bolder head pattern. As usual, though, these things are only obvious with a really good view, like these pictures. There are often cases of a distant bird on an estuary, or something similar, where it can be quite tricky to be sure.
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