Distribution Britain 83 (+40.7%) Ireland 0
Numbers breeding: Britain 530 Ireland 0
European status: 230,000 (0% in Britain and Ireland)
British population trend: increasing well mostly in Shetland
How likely are you to record it? 42 squares (0.9%) Ranked 121 
This smaller cousin of the Curlew, familiar to many birdwatchers through its 'seven whistlers' migration call, only breeds in the far North. It had declined to 30 pairs and was confined to
Shetland by 1900. A gradual increase started about 70 years ago and the population had doubled by about 1960. The increase possibly accelerated and a survey in the 1980s estimated there were about 450 pairs on Shetland (70 on Fetlar alone) and 20-25 elsewhere in Scotland regular on Orkney and sporadic on St Kilda, Lewis and the northern Mainland. A complete Shetland census found 479 pairs in 1994. In the future predation by Great Skuas may be a problem. 1,000 pairs by 2010?
Dore, C.P., Ellis, P.M. & Stuart, E.M. 1996 Scottish Birds: 18, 193-196.
The following Bird On! sketch is available:
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From The State of the Nations Birds
Copyright © 2000 by Chris Mead