Wildlife managers in New Mexico are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and researchers elsewhere to learn more about long-billed curlews.

The shorebird is considered a species of greatest conservation need in New Mexico. The state sits at the southernmost extent of the bird’s breeding range.

Officials say the project will fill gaps in information regarding nesting efforts, migration routes and overwintering locations.

Curlews use their bills to probe, peck and snatch insects. Breeding pairs are territorial and share incubation duty, with males taking the night shift.

As part of the study, satellite transmitters were placed on five curlews captured near Watrous, N.M. Based on data from other marked pairs, officials say they expect the birds to return to the area and breed next spring.

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