The Violet Turaco, Musophaga violacea; with open wings the scarlet of the flight-feathers is striking. Not wholly dependent on climax forest but certainly typical of it – the reason the bird was chosen locally for the logo of Farasuto Forest Community Nature Reserve

Search for the Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris

There has been no verified record of the Slender-billed Curlew (SBC) Numenius tenuirostris for about a decade and we urgently need to relocate the species to take action for it before it is too late. Starting now, the coordinated international winter search for during 2009/2010, and beyond as necessary.

As the new chair of the Slender-billed Curlew Working Group (SBCWG), established in the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species Memorandum of Understanding for Conservation Measures Concerning the Slender-billed Curlew, I need to reassemble national representatives for the Working Group.

For each (potential) SBC range state, we aim to have at least one Governmental and one non-Governmental representative. As a minimum, ideally at least one Governmental representative would be in a position to help rush through permissions for catching and tagging (by an international expert team, as necessary) and protecting the birds when they are found. Furthermore, it would be important to have Government support for a national SBC survey (ideally in liaison with the Wetlands International midwinter International Waterbird Census) during 09/10.

Indeed of greatest urgency at present is the need to find people who would be willing to help organise a survey of potential SBC sites in the forthcoming winter. The SBCWG can provide assistance in finding international volunteers to participate in the survey to help achieve maximum possible coverage.

As regards representation from your country on the SBC Working Group, also, at least one national representative would ideally be able to, for example:

  • check to see if there are any records of (possible) SBC from Gambia (so far we are two possible sightings one on 8 December 2002 and I'm not sure of details of the other one)
  • verify any records of potential SBC as they come in
  • deploy national experts, at short notice, to verify any new records in the field, supported by international experts as necessary
  • ensure the promotion of the search among skilled national birdwatchers and those that visit your country.

Further information can be found at website including an article about the SBC Quest published in Birdwatch magazine, a recent International Waterbird Census newsletter devoted to the SBC search and a 'toolkit' leaflet which has been produced to assist with identification of SBC in the field: download leaflet. Please let me know if you would like any copies in English or any other languages (such as Arabic and/or French), and if so, which address to send them to.

Nicola Crockford email
Ms Nicola J Crockford
International Species Policy Officer
The RSPB - BirdLife in the UK
UK Headquarters, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1767 693072
Fax: +44 (0)1767 683211 (or +44 (0)1767 692365)

The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is amazing help us keep it that way. The RSPB is the BirdLife International Partner organisation in the UK.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654