Numenius HUDSONICUS rufiventris
Status: Rare regular spring migrant central and west, rare casual east. Rare casual fall migrant statewide.
Documentation: Specimen: HMM 2498, 12 Oct 1901 Hall Co.
Taxonomy: Recent genetic studies show Nearctic whimbrels as a deep monophyletic clade (Sangster et al 2011, Tan et al 2019); these Nearctic birds are now considered a separate species, Hudsonian Whimbrel, N. hudsonicus, from Eurasian Whimbrel, N. phaeopus (Gill et al 2021).
Current authors recognize two subspecies within Hudsonian Whimbrel, rufiventris of Alaska and northwest Canada, and hudsonicus of Hudson Bay and northeast Canada (Gill et al 2021).
Based on tracking data (below), Nebraska birds are presumed rufiventris.
Spring: Apr 26, 26, 27 (Jorgensen 2012) <<<>>> May 23, 23, 25
Very few records are in Apr; peak migration is in a very short window 15-20 May with few records thereafter. At migration peak, large flocks can occur (see High Counts).
Satellite tracking has revealed the migratory routes of the small number of birds that are regularly observed in Nebraska; Whimbrels breeding at the MacKenzie Delta migrate eastwards in fall to join Hudson Bay breeders and then east and south over the Atlantic Ocean to northeast South America, while, in spring, Hudson Bay breeders return along the Atlantic Coast along with some MacKenzie Delta breeders, but most of the latter migrate north from the Gulf Coast through the Great Plains to the MacKenzie Delta (Wildlife Tracking 2017).
In the east away from the Rainwater Basin, there are these few records: one in Madison Co 20 Apr 2013, Lakes Babcock and North, Platte Co 30 Apr 2013, Antelope Co 1 May 2002 (Brogie 2003), two photographed in Douglas Co 15 May 2016, two photographed in Nemaha Co 15 May 2020, and three in Cass Co 25 May 2013. Jorgensen (2012) cited 18 records 27 Apr-24 May in the eastern Rainwater Basin.
- High counts: 70 at Lake McConaughy, Keith Co 16 May 2005, 63 there 16 May 2004, and 62 at Bronco Lake, Box Butte Co 15 May 1948 (Wampole 1948).
Fall: As discussed above, most, if not all, Mackenzie Delta breeders travel eastward after breeding to the Atlantic Coast, and so fall records on the Great Plains are scarce. There are only five reports, one documented, the specimen cited above. There are no reports since 1984. The others are likely correct:
19 Jul 1979 Dawes Co (Rosche 1982)
25 Jul 1984 Buffalo Co (Lingle and Labedz 1984)
8 Oct 1898 Lancaster Co
12 Oct 1901 Hall Co (cited above).
17 Oct 1934 Douglas Co (Overing 1935).
The Jul reports are likely adults while the three reports for Oct are likely juveniles.
HMM: Hastings Municipal Museum
Brogie, M.A. 2003. 2002 (14th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 71: 136-142.
Gill, F., D. Donsker, and P. Rasmussen (Eds). 2021. IOC World Bird List (v 11.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.11.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
Jorgensen, J.G. 2012. Birds of the Rainwater Basin, Nebraska. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
Overing, R. 1935. The Hudsonian Curlew near Omaha, Douglas County. NBR 3: 26.
Rosche, R.C. 1982. Birds of northwestern Nebraska and southwestern South Dakota, an annotated checklist. Cottonwood Press, Crawford, Nebraska, USA.
Sangster, G., J. Collinson, P-A Crochet, A.G. Knox, D.T. Parkin, L. Svensson, and S.C. Votier. 2011. Taxonomic recommendations for British birds: seventh report. Ibis 153: 883-892.
Tan, H.Z., E.Y.X. Ng, Q. Tang, G.A. Allport, J.F. J. Jansen, P.S. Tomkovich, and F.E. Rheindt. 2019. Population genomics of two congeneric Palaearctic shorebirds reveals differential impacts of Quaternary climate oscillations across habitats types. Scientific Reports 9, Article number 18172.
Wampole, J.H. 1948. Hudsonian Curlews at Bronco Lake, Box Butte County. NBR 16: 54.
Wildlife Tracking. 2017. Whimbrel tracking in the Americas. http://www.wildlifetracking.org/?project_id=369, accessed 2 March 2018.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2021. Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org
Birds of Nebraska – Online
Updated 2 Oct 2021