Gulf Coast Whimbrel

Whimbrel on a floating mat of seaweedWhimbrel on a floating mat of seaweed

Among the shorebirds I enjoyed seeing and photographing while I lived in Florida were Whimbrels, I could see flocks of 25 or more during the winter along the coast. There had been rough waves the day before I photographed this Whimbrel which pushed floating mats of seaweed up close to the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, the Whimbrels were feeding on small crabs that were in the seaweed.

I know that Whimbrels do show up here in Utah during their migration north but I have yet to be able to get close enough to photograph them. Whimbrels breed in northern Arctic regions and can live up to 1 years. They are similar in appearance to Long-billed Curlews that I often photograph here and in Montana but bill length helps with ID.  The curve of their bills matches the curve of the burrows of Fiddler Crabs, their favorite prey item.


*I am going to be away from my computer a lot until Friday, please feel free to share this post with your friends and family.

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Thank you all for your comments on this Whimbrel post.

    Kathie, my books say Whimbrels live at least 19 years, fairly long for a shorebird.

  2. I saw two at my favorite local tide pool this morning – the first time I have seen them in the Pensacola area.
    The match of the curvature of the bill with that of Fiddler Crab burrows is a factoid of which I was unaware. That’s one reason I follow your blog … and the terrific photos, of course.

  3. A bird I would love to see! BTW, how many years do they live? I think their is a number missing!

  4. Beautiful work Mia!!

  5. In this insane world, your photography , as always, brings me great solace. Thanks Mia.. Great shot!

  6. Beautiful photo as always, Mia!

  7. You can make even a plain brown wrapper into a lovely picture! I swear!

  8. I just saw my first at Fort De Soto last week!

  9. How lovely, Mia. Whimbrels are such pretty birds (‘though I’ve only seen photos of them). I love their coat pattern and colors!

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