Action plan launched to save the curlews in Wales

A multi-partner supported recovery plan to reverse the decline of curlew from Welsh landscapes has been launched.

The Wales Action Plan for the Recovery of Curlew is written and led by Gylfinir Cymru / Curlew Wales, a broad partnership working with Welsh Government to address the chronic decline in population and geographic distribution of this iconic bird.

Natural Resources Wales’ Lead Specialist Advisor for Ornithology Patrick Lindley is Chair of Gylfinir Cymru, he said:

“Wales’ breeding curlews are in significant decline and if we fail to act now this species could be on the brink of extinction by 2033.
“Like much of the rest of the UK and Europe, we are facing a climate emergency and a nature crisis, and the loss of breeding curlew is considered by many to the most pressing bird conservation priority in Wales.
“The loss of biodiversity is far-reaching, complex, and challenging, but it is considered by many that the loss of breeding curlew from Welsh landscapes will be a loss of biodiversity too far.
“Gylfinir Cymru’s aim is to halt and if possible, reverse this decline by the implementation of this ten-year action plan. Working closely in collaboration with Welsh Government, environmental non-government organisations, farming unions, academia and individuals this 10-year curlew action plan meets this challenge by setting the strategic direction of closely aligned actions to deliver tangible gains for Wales’ remaining breeding curlews “

The Action Plan sets out a 10-year programme to conserve breeding curlews and to stabilise the decline in breeding curlews in Wales.

To do this the plan will address four main themes:

  • Identify a network of Important Curlew Areas (ICAs) in wales to maximise opportunities and provide a focus for targeted conservation action.
  • Reverse the current drivers of low productivity (predators and grassland management practices during the breeding season).
  • Ensure a package of support is available to enable all farmers and land managers to collaborate at the landscape scale to deliver the outcomes required by breeding curlew using the best available evidence.
  • Support public awareness campaigns and education to influence consumer choices and demands for agricultural products that support breeding curlew friendly habitats.

Mark Isherwood MS is the Wales Species Curlew Champion, he said:

‘Since becoming Wales Species Champion for the Curlew in 2016, I have learned much about the perilous predicament of the Curlew, both as an individual species and as an ecological umbrella or indicator species.
“I am privileged to have worked with Gylfinir Cymru /Curlew Wales, since its subsequent formation as a coalition of expert organisations working together because they have a shared passion and determination to secure the future of Curlew as a breeding bird in Wales. We need to understand the multiple and multi-species benefits of saving Curlew from an ecosystem resilience, cultural and natural heritage perspective.”

Minister for Climate Change Julie James said:

“The plight of the curlew epitomises the nature emergency.  It is not just something for governments and nature experts to address in isolation - it is for all of us in Wales to take ownership of, support and get involved in the remedies.  Thanks to Gylfinir Cymru / Curlew Wales for leading the way in the recovery of this iconic species, they do so for the benefit of us all.
“I want future generations to be able to hear the beautiful cry of the curlew. That’s why I am already investing over £200k to support projects that help curlew in Wales, and £millions more in projects that give nature and biodiversity the opportunity to recover and thrive, including funds for landowners and farmers to make the right land use choices for our wildlife.”

Gylfinir Cymru is a partnership of: Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, The British Association for Shooting and Conservation, The British Trust for Ornithology, The Countryside Alliance, Cofnod, Curlew Country,  Denbighshire County Council, The Farmers' Union of Wales, Natural Resources Wales, The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, The National Farmers’ Union Wales, The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, The National Trust, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Snowdonia National Park Authority, The Welsh Ornithological Society and Welsh Government .

For more information on the work of Gylfinir Cymru and access to the Wales Action Plan for the Recovery of Curlew, please visit