Curlew trial management project

We are testing management to help save the Eurasian curlew.

Curlew Numenius arquata standing on hill in front of lake


In 2008, the Eurasian curlew was deemed of global conservation concern and became listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species making it the UK’s highest conservation priority bird species.
Previous work suggests that poor breeding success is likely to be the main driver with other reasons including predation of eggs and loss of suitable breeding habitat.

Reversing the fortunes of such a widely distributed breeding bird will require the roll-out of appropriate management across large areas of the curlews’ range. Our Curlew Trial Management Project is undertaking vital research to test whether a combination of predator control and habitat management can successfully increase nesting success. If effective, it can help inform the development of new management options.


  • To test whether a combination of predator control and habitat management can be delivered as a conservation tool to improve breeding success and breeding abundance of curlew.

Key Dates

  • Spring-summer 2015: baseline data collected.
  • Autumn-winter 2015-16: first round of habitat management completed.
  • Winter 2015-16: first round of predator control started.
  • Summer 2016: first round of monitoring post-management.


We have already undertaken two successful seasons of data collection in the field and two seasons of targeted habitat management and predator control across the six trial management sites.

Planned Work

  • Three more seasons of monitoring and three more seasons of management interventions are planned, taking the project up to March 2020.
  • Ongoing analyses will help identify whether we are achieving our objectives.


The research project is in its early stages so we cannot conclude anything as yet. However, the results so far suggest a positive response.


Tagged with: Country: England Country: Northern Ireland Country: Scotland Country: Wales Habitat: Farmland Habitat: Grassland Habitat: Heathland Habitat: Upland Habitat: Wetland Species: Curlew Project status: Ongoing Project classification: Ongoing Project types: Research