Whaup is the Orcadian name for the Eurasian Curlew, Numenius arquata. Here’s one flying above the Buttercups in Westray:
They’re severely threatened and yet another species likely to become extinct without concerted action to change land use and farming practice.
The Curlew was first named in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae, by Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus which was published in two volumes in 1758 and 1759. He named it Scolopax arquata. The Latin text which describes it says, “Rostro arcuato, pedibus caerulescentibus, alis nigris, maculis niveis.” That translates as: “Beak arched, feet blue, black wings, white spots.” Not perfect, but pretty accurate. Here’s the original text:
Here it is flying over the North Sea.
I hope enough people will care about them to halt their decline. They’re a delight to spend time with and we’re so lucky to still have good numbers on Westray.
If you’d like to see the original volume of Carl Linnaeus’s book from 1758, here it is: