Northern Ireland Curlew workshop

DAERA hosted a Northern Ireland Curlew workshop at CAFRE’S Greenmount Campus on 12th September 2018. Monitoring has shown that the Curlew breeding population in Northern Ireland, all-Ireland and UK is declining at an alarming rate. This workshop was held to review the situation in Northern Ireland and to examine the options going forward. The workshop was facilitated by the Chairman of the Republic of Ireland Curlew Task Force Alan Lauder.

Highest level of conservation concern

Photograph of a curlew
Photograph of a Curlew by Laurie Campbell
Due to its adverse global conservation status and the rapid decline in the UK and Ireland breeding population, Curlew has been highlighted as the UK’s highest conservation priority bird species. Curlew is listed on the Red-list (highest level of conservation concern) of both the Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland (Colhoun and Cummins, 2013) and UK Birds of Conservation Concern (Eaton et al., 2015).

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) or simply Curlew has a distinctive bubbling call which you may have heard while walking over moorland or on a coastal marsh. It is the largest wader in its range. It has a mottled greyish-brown plumage and a white rump which is most noticeable in flight. It is easily identified by its long greyish-blue legs and long downturned curved bill. They breed in a number of habitats, including moorland, open boggy areas and traditionally-manged hayfields. After breeding, they migrate to coastal areas of sand and mudflats. Curlew is listed on the Northern Ireland Priority Species List as a species of principal importance for the purpose of conserving biodiversity.

Photograph from NI Curlew workshop Experts from across the UK and Ireland outlined the issues, problems, and potential solutions. A wide range of stakeholders attended. In the morning, speakers from Northern Ireland outlined local work to improve the conservation status of Curlew. Speakers from Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England outlined conservation action for Curlew taking place at a broader scale.

In the afternoon, in two workshop sessions, attendees were asked to contribute the development of a new Species Action Plan (SAP) for Curlew. Recent evidence has shown that these can make a difference to the conservation of threatened bird species.

Workshop agenda and presentations

‘Setting the scene locally’

‘Wider Curlew conservation’

A report from the workshop will be available from this page once it's published.

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