Curlews eating underground wolf spiders

This is a video of a long-billed curlew feeding.

12 June 2011.

From Dan Tallman’s Bird Blog in the USA:

Long-billed Curlew

Like other birders and banders, I haven’t been seeing much for the past week. I have banded no birds for the past three days. Perhaps we are being fooled by our lovely April weather. The migrants, however, seem to know better than to return to Minnesota before May. I checked my records from last year and found that banding did not pick up until the first of May. The plant store assures us that the average last frost for the Twin Cities is in mid-May!

So I find my thoughts drifting to Long-billed Curlews. When we taught outdoor education classes, we introduced our students to predictive morphology. By knowing the shape of a bird’s bill, you might be able to predict its feeding habits. The longer the bill, especially among shorebirds, the deeper it should probe. The Long-billed Curlew does, indeed, probe deeply in the ocean mudflats where it winters.

But what does it do with that bill where it breeds in dry Mid-West? From my reading, I do not think too much is known about their summer food habits. My colleague Doug Backlund of South Dakota discovered that Long-billed Curlews insert their bills down wolf spider burrows in search of juicy arachnids. … I also read that Long-billed Curlews use their bills to flip cow pies in order to expose invertebrate prey!

The probing and cow pie information is from: Dugger, Bruce D. and Katie M. Dugger. 2002. Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:

I heard yesterday from a spider researcher that Eurasian curlews also eat underground wolf spiders.

Worlds Largest Spider Species to be Bred at San Diego Zoo: here.

World’s hardest spider preys on other spiders. It also has a super adhesive grip that can rip other spiders legs off: here.

Charlotte’s Getting Shabby: Aging Spiders Weave Messy Webs: here.

July 2011: Four species of African purse-web spiders previously unknown to science have been found by a team of international researchers: here.

Madagascar’s elusive shell-squatting spider filmed: here.

New Zealand spiders: here.

July 2011. BirdWatch Ireland has carried out the first survey specifically to find breeding Curlew in Ireland – in counties Donegal and Mayo. The results are most worrying, as Anita Donaghy reports: here.

Here’s news that might shock at least the 9,000 people evacuated from the flooded city of Wagga Wagga in south-east Australia: the town they left has since been overrun with [wolf] spiders: here.

7 thoughts on “Curlews eating underground wolf spiders

  1. Administrator on September 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm said:

    09-09-2011 | Klein maar fijn

    Ze vallen misschien nu minder goed op, maar de najaars-spinnen zijn dit jaar kleiner dan andere jaren.

    Er zijn grofweg twee momenten in het jaar waarin de meeste spinnensoorten volwassen worden. Deze ‘spinnenseizoenen’ vallen of in het voorjaar (mei-juni), of in het najaar (september-oktober).

    Dit jaar was het voorjaar warm en droog. Voor een spin de perfecte tijd om op te groeien, want er is dan genoeg voedsel voor ze te vinden. Dit zorgt ervoor dat ze groter worden en daarmee ook meer eitjes gaan leggen. Voor dit najaar is het precies andersom. De slechte zomer bracht weinig voedsel voor de spinnen, waardoor de spinnen blijven. Een kleine spin legt ook minder eitjes.

    Hoe het volgend jaar wordt moeten we afwachten, want minder eitjes nu staat niet gelijk aan minder spinnen volgend jaar. Er is namelijk meer voedsel per spin.


  2. Spider creeps out Asda workers

    Thursday 23 February 2012

    Asda workers were startled as this ctenidae spider came crawling out of a bunch of bananas.

    The shop staff in Chesser, Edinburgh, had a lucky escape – the spider best known as the wandering spider is one of the most poisonous spiders out there, and it is not averse to attacking people either.

    A supermarket colleague managed to get all 10cm leg span of the female arachnid into a jar before calling the Scottish Society for the Protection of Animals.

    Sadly we’ll see no more of our furry friend – she died overnight.


  3. Pingback: US Republicans hate birds | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: British shorebird problems | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Arctic wolf spiders and climate change | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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