Curlew’s call in short supply as species in decline

Published by Niall Sargent on

April 18th, 2019

A leading peatland conservation group is set to highlight the decline of endangered Curlew breeding on Irish bogs at an event in Kildare this weekend.

The Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) will host an event as part of World Curlew Day on 20 April at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre.

While highlighting the plight of the Curlew on Irish bogs, the event will also celebrate the recent return of some of the species to breed on Lodge Bog, Co. Kildare.

The event will include a Curlew talk and a guided walk to Lodge Bog to observe Curlew territory, look for the birds and listen for their iconic call.

World Curlew Day is used to raise awareness for the eight known Curlew species worldwide, two of which are now believed to be extinct.

The Curlew – Ireland’s largest wader – is one of Ireland’s most threatened species. It is on the IUCN Red-list as the population has had a 98 per cent decline since the 1980’s.

It is estimated that only 128 breeding pairs remain in Ireland. The main threats to the Curlew are loss of suitable habitat, the fragmentation of habitat and predation, the IPCC said.

According to the IPCC, Lodge Bog provides the perfect open peatland habitat with an abundance of mini-beasties for the Curlew to feed on.

Peatlands are extremely important habitats for Curlew, with an estimated 71 per cent of Curlew breeding on bogs and 29 per cent breeding mainly on rushy pasture and wet grassland.

Abbeyleix Bog, Co Laois Photo: Niall Sargent
Abbeyleix Bog, Co Laois Photo: Niall Sargent

According to Paula Farrell, IPCC’s Campaign Officer, peatlands are a “unique habitat and Ireland should be proud of our diverse wildlife”.

“IPCC’s work to conserve a sample of peatlands is not only for people today and in the future to enjoy but also to provide space for the variety of unique wildlife such as the Curlew that calls Ireland’s peatland wetlands their home,” she added.

A Curlew Task Force was set up in January 2017 made up of stakeholder groups and experts in Curlew conservation.

The IPCC works to conserve the preferred habitat of the Curlew, Lodge Bog a raised bog, with support from Kildare branch of BirdWatch Ireland, local landowners and volunteers.  

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London