Is there still hope for the Slender-billed Curlew?

Written by Marko Šćiban/Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia
On 3 April 2014 in pastures around natron lake Rusanda in north Serbia (Banat region) I observed a strange-looking curlew species with my colleague, Radislav Mirić. It was among a flock of around 400 Whimbrels and 40 Eurasian Curlews. Bird had a little thinner bill than the surrounding Whimbrels, it was around the same size of Whimbrels or just slightly bigger. It was coloured similarly to Whimbrels/juvenile Slender-billed Curlews, with small spots on a whitish-yellowish background. What made it different from other Whimbrels, was a clearly whitish head without typical dark stripes on the head of Whimbrels. Unfortunately, several minutes after these photos were made, the bird flew up in a direction of a Sun so we did not manage to see it in flight. Pictures are not of a good quality, but at least others can look at it and a discussion can be started. To me it looks like a very good candidate for a Slender-billed Curlew or some odd hybrid between Eurasian Curlew and Whimbrel.
Bellow a few digiscoped images showing the bird in question.
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
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