Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Numenius phaeopus - Whimbrel

Range & Status

Palearctic; in Britain and Ireland some 530 breeding pairs (Scotland); common on passage in coastal areas, but less than 50 winter (chiefly south-west Ireland).

Regional Distribution

Cornwall: good numbers (of National significance) pass through in both spring and autumn, the bulk of birds moving through south coastal areas in the space of a few days in spring (1000-1500 in total) with Mount' s Bay recording heaviest movements; distinct build up in late July/early August on St. John' s Lake and Camel estuary (50-100 late summer). Five - ten birds overwinter at scattered sites, but only Millbrook consistently records two-three wintering birds. Isles of Scilly: scattered through islands on passage, with one-three birds overwintering.

Habitat & Ecology

Feeds in small flocks over tidal flats, or rocky shores. Most larger spring flocks are of birds flying through.


Estuary developments.


The main estuary sites are SSSI. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).

Click here to see Aphotoflora images by David Fenwick


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.