A bird that, to me, is unlike any other bird I've seen.
They are easy to identify by their streaky brown plumage, long-bodied, long-tailed shape and broad white bar across the folded wing, but always it is that eye which grabs your attention, flanked by a puffy white 'bag' underneath and a bold white eyebrow above.
Their wailing calls, given mostly at night, do indeed sound rather like a Curlew, but one which is in pain. Other calls sound more like Oystercatchers.
They breed on dry stony heaths and arable land. The nest is a fairly deep scrape, lined with small stones, shells, rabbit droppings, or pieces of vegetation.
A widespread decline has taken place, particularly in western and central Europe. This species has recently become extinct in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic and only a handful of pairs now remain in Austria. Habitat loss, as a result of the intensification of agriculture and forestry, is the primary cause. Britain is the only country in Europe where the population has increased since 1990, due to the work of conservationists.
A rare summer visitor between March-October, to the Breckland area of East Anglia and Salisbury Plain. The best site to see this rare species without causing disturbance is from the hides at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust Reserve of Weeting Heath, just north of Brandon.