ESKIMO CURLEW (Numenius borealis)
The Eskimo Curlew is an upland shorebird and the smallest of the North American curlews. It is 12-14 inches long, including its 2-2.5 inch slightly decurved bill, and has a 26-30 inch wingspread. Its general color is buff to pale cinnamon-brown, darker on the back and lighter below. There is a very light stripe over the eye. The bill is black and legs are dark green.
Eskimo Curlews were formerly a regular spring transient through the eastern half of the state. When resting or foraging, the birds preferred plowed fields heavily grazed or burned-over grasslands, and prairie-dog towns where they fed on invertebrates.
Historically, Eskimo Curlews have only been recorded in the marked counties, but they undoubtedly did occur over all the eastern two-thirds of Kansas during migration. The last verified sighting in Kansas was from a Wichita resident in 1902.
SPECIES PROTECTION AND CRITICAL HABITATS
Eskimo Curlews are protected by the Kansas Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, the Federal Endangered Species Act, and state and federal regulations applicable to those acts. Any time a project is proposed that will impact the species' preferred habitats within its probable range, the project sponsor must contact the Ecological Services Section, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, 512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt, Kansas 67124-8174. Department personnel can then advise the project sponsor on permit requirements under Kansas' statutes. Sponsors of projects impacting Eskimo Curlew habitats must also contact the Endangered Species Specialist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 315 Houston Street, Suite E, Manhattan, Kansas 66502.
DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITATS
As defined by Kansas Administrative Regulations, critical habitats include those areas documented as currently supporting self-sustaining population(s) of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife as well as those areas determined by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to be essential for the conservation of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife.
Eskimo Curlews formerly migrated through Kansas in the Spring. There have been no sightings in Kansas since 1902. Department of Wildlife & Parks personnel investigate all reported sightings, but the bird is considered extirpated from the state. There is currently no designated critical curlew habitat in the state.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also has authority to designate areas of critical habitat for federally listed endangered species, but has not done so for Eskimo Curlew in Kansas.